HOLBEIN, Hans the Younger
(b. 1497, Augsburg, d. 1543, London)

Portrait of Nikolaus Kratzer (detail)

Tempera on oak
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Nikolaus Kratzer (1487-1550) was an astronomer from Munich. After his studies in Oxford he went into the service of Henry VIII, King of England. He was the teacher of the daughters of Thomas Moore and he was acquainted with Holbein at Moore's house. They became close friends.

The tools Kratzer needed to construct his astronomical instruments are shown with great precision. In his right hand he holds dividers, with which he is working on a ten-sided sundial. Further parts of the incomplete instrument lie alongside a ruler and a woodcutting knife on the left on the table. In addition, an auger, scissors, a divider, and a hammer are shown.

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