Paintings in England (1536-43)
by Hans HOLBEIN the Younger

Holbein's later portraits of the merchants of the German Steelyard tend to be simpler; the mood one of restraint and quiet dignity. This tendency towards simplicity, and the elimination of all accessories, is characteristic of his late portraits. After 1535 the sitters are usually shown in the full light, focused against a background of blue or green, and very often in simple frontal poses. Holbein was, through a reduction of means, seeking a more abstract beauty of form. There is a quality of stillness and remoteness in the late portraits.

The change in Holbein's style may be clearly seen in the portrait of Sir Richard Southwell of 1536. In yet later portraits the sitter tends to become larger in relationship to the picture plane, as in the portrait of Antony the Good, Duke of Lorraine. We become more conscious of the part that the frame plays in relating the sitter to the picture plane; the panels are smaller, and there is an impression of increased concentration and precision. The Unknown Young Man at his Office Desk is a superb example.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 13 minutes):
Thomas Arne: Concerto for cembalo in C major


Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
Sir Richard Southwell
1536
Oil on wood, 47,5 x 38 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

802*1035
True Color
100 Kb



Portrait of Simon George
1536-37
Oil on oak, diameter 31 cm
Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt

946*942
True Color
113 Kb



Christina of Denmark, Ducchess of Milan
1538
Oil on oak, 179 x 83 cm
National Gallery, London

640*1409
True Color
69 Kb



Christina of Denmark, Ducchess of Milan (detail)
1538
Oil on oak
National Gallery, London

1036*652
True Color
54 Kb



Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk
1539-40
Tempera on wood, 80,3 x 61,6 cm
Royal Collection, Windsor

801*1041
True Color
135 Kb



Portrait of Margaret Wyatt, Lady Lee
c. 1540
Oil on wood, 42,5 x 32,7 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

800*1040
True Color
113 Kb



Portrait of a Man Holding Gloves and Letter
c. 1540
Oil on wood, 32,5 x 26 cm
Kunstmuseum, Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel

760*965
True Color
64 Kb



De Vos van Steenwijk
1541
Oil on wood, 47,6 x 36,2 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

854*1062
True Color
104 Kb



Unknown Young Man at his Office Desk
1541
Oil on wood, 47 x 34,9 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

810*1113
True Color
129 Kb



Portrait of Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey
1541-43
Oil on wood, 55,5 x 44 cm
Museu de Arte, São Paulo

806*983
True Color
133 Kb



Portrait of Sir William Butts
1543
Oil on wood, 47 x 36,8 cm
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

805*990
True Color
122 Kb



Portrait of Lady Margaret Butts
1543
Oil on wood, 46 x 37 cm
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

802*1006
True Color
107 Kb



Portrait of John Chambers
1543
Oil on oak, 58 x 39,7 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

806*1172
True Color
89 Kb



Portrait of Duke Antony the Good of Lorraine
c. 1543
Oil on oak, 51 x 37 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

806*1123
True Color
98 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