Early paintings in Basle and Lucerne (1515-19)
by Hans HOLBEIN the Younger

Part of a painter's training in the Late Middle Ages was a period of apprenticeship. Hans Holbein completed his in Basle, when, towards the end of 1515, he and his brother Ambrosius probably entered the workshop of Hans Herbst. As his work is largely unknown, we have no idea how far Master Herbst influenced Holbein. However, the importance of being in the university city of Basle should not be underestimated: a large number of humanistically educated people lived there, chief of whom was Erasmus of Rotterdam, who had moved there in 1514.

Holbein's first works to come down to us intact are drawings, dating from December 1515, on the margin of Erasmus's Latin text Encomium moriae (The Praise of Folly). An important step towards his gaining general recognition as a painter must have been the double portrait of Jakob Meyer zum Hasen (1482-1531) and his second wife Dorothea Kannengiesser.

Holbein's name is first mentioned in Lucerne on September 24, 1517. The visit to Lucerne lasted about two years, and was connected with an important commission from the powerful mayor Jakob von Hertenstein (c. 1460-1527) to decorate his newly erected house.

Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
Signboard for a Schoolmaster
1516
Pine panel, 55.5 x 65.7 cm
Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel

975*803
True Color
169 Kb



St Barbara
1516
Wood, 150 x 47 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

550*1417
True Color
121 Kb



Portrait of Jakob Meyer zum Hasen
1516
Limewood, 38,5 x 30,8 cm
Kunstmuseum, Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel

811*1012
True Color
102 Kb



Portrait of Dorothea Meyer, née Kannengiesser
1516
Limewood, 38,5 x 30,8 cm
Kunstmuseum, Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel

820*1024
True Color
125 Kb



Adam and Eve
1517
Paper, mounted on pine, 302 x 357 mm
Kunstmuseum, Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel

1029*876
True Color
122 Kb



Portrait of the Artist's Wife (?)
c. 1517
Tempera on wood, 45 x 34 cm
Mauritshuis, The Hague

801*1090
True Color
148 Kb



Portrait of Benedikt von Hertenstein
1517
Paper, mounted on wood, 52,4 x 38,1 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

801*1103
True Color
114 Kb




Summary of paintings by Hans Holbein the Younger
1515-19 | 1519-25 | altarpieces | 1526-28 | 1529-31
1532-35 | Ambassadors | Henry VIII and his family | 1536-43
drawings and woodcuts | miniatures | Miscellaneous works