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

Jeanne de Boulogne, Duchess of Berry

1524
Black and coloured chalks, 396 x 275 mm
Kupferstichkabinett, Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel

During his visit to France, Holbein drew the sculpted figures of Duc Jean de Berry (1340-1416) and his wife Jeanne de Boulogne, probably sculpted by Jean de Cambrai (died 1438) after 1416. In the 16th century the figures were still in the private burial chapel of the ducal palace in Bourges. Holbein endeavours to bring the sculptures to life by colourings the flesh and drawing in additional details such as eyelashes, which of course the sculptor could not show. It was in effect a kind of competition between painting and sculpture, known as the paragone, with Holbein attempting to outdo the latter in verisimilitude.




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