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Hans Holbein, the younger

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Hans Holbein, the younger

German, (ca. 1497–1543)
Hans Holbein the Younger (ca. 1497 - between October and November 1543) was a German printmaker and painter considered to be one of the greatest Northern Renaissance portrait painters of the sixteenth century. Of his most famous works is the painting The Ambassadors (1533), a double portrait containing a much-cited example of anamorphosis in painting. In addition to portraiture, Holbein illustrated Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible, produced his famous set of 41 woodcuts depicting the Danse Macabre, and made significant contributions to the history of book design. Holbein is referred to as the Younger to distinguish himself from his father, famed Late Gothic painter Hans Holbein the Elder.

Born in Augsburg, Germany, Holbein trained in his father’s studio in his hometown before moving to Basel, Switzerland. In 1526, Holbein travelled to England for two years in search of work. During his time there, Holbein was commissioned by humanist and statesman Thomas More to paint portraits of himself and his family. Holbein’s painted portraits of the Mores quickly gained international recognition and, shortly after, Holbein relocated permanently from Basel to England to become the exclusive court portrait painter and fashion designer to King Henry VIII—a position he held until his death in 1543.

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