Paintings after the return to Basle (1529-31)
by Hans HOLBEIN the Younger

Holbein had been given only two years leave of absence by the authorities in Basle and in 1528 returned there and bought a house. The uncertain situation for artists in Basle was largely the result of ecclesiastical politics: during Holbein's absence the Reformation had increasingly gained ground finding more and more supporters of Luther. This resulted in the lack of clients for religious works such as altarpieces or private devotional pictures.

Holbein was not completely inactive over the next four years. He did further work on the Council Chamber decorations in Basle town hall; he produced designs for book illustrations and stained glass; he painted Erasmus again.

One of Holbein's most moving paintings dates from this second Basle period, that of his wife and two children. In the Darmstadt Madonna of 1526 all remnants of a Gothic format have gone; of all Holbein's paintings this most nearly approaches the grandeur and calm symmetry of Italian Renaissance compositions.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 2 minutes):
Michael Praetorius: Motet


Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
Darmstadt Madonna
1526 and after 1528
Oil on limewood, 146,5 x 102 cm
Schlossmuseum, Darmstadt

860*1214
True Color
152 Kb



Darmstadt Madonna (detail)
1526 and after 1528
Oil on limewood
Schlossmuseum, Darmstadt

816*1060
True Color
107 Kb



Darmstadt Madonna (detail)
1526 and after 1528
Oil on limewood
Schlossmuseum, Darmstadt

821*1200
True Color
113 Kb



Darmstadt Madonna (detail)
1526 and after 1528
Oil on limewood
Schlossmuseum, Darmstadt

836*1172
True Color
113 Kb



Darmstadt Madonna (detail)
1526 and after 1528
Oil on limewood
Schlossmuseum, Darmstadt

798*1000
True Color
127 Kb



The Artist's Family
1528
Oil on paper mounted on wood, 77 x 64 cm
Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel

818*1002
True Color
100 Kb



Portrait of Erasmus of Rotterdam
1530
Oil on wood, 33 x 25 cm
Galleria Nazionale, Parma

652*942
True Color
72 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