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 Info
Signboard for a Schoolmaster
Pine panel, 56 x 66 cm
÷ffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel

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

Portrait of Jakob Meyer zum Hasen
Oil on linden panel, 40 x 32 cm
Kunstmuseum, ÷ffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel

Portrait of Dorothea Meyer, nťe Kannengiesser
Oil on linden panel, 40 x 32 cm
Kunstmuseum, ÷ffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel

Adam and Eve
Paper, mounted on pine, 302 x 357 mm
Kunstmuseum, ÷ffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel

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

Portrait of Benedikt von Hertenstein
Oil and gold on paper, attached to wood panel, 52 x 37 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.