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

Portrait of Philipp Melanchthon

c. 1535
Oak, diameter 9 cm
Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum, Hannover

In all probability Holbein never got to know the German reformer Melanchthon (1497-1560) personally, and so must have painted his portrait based on a picture by Cranach or Dürer. The inscription on the cover, which can be used to shut up the small portrait as in a box, praises the ability of the painter to bring the sitter to life in a picture: "You who view the features of Melanchthon as if they were almost alive: Holbein created them with the utmost skill." It is not known who the portrait was for, but it must presumably have been one of Melanchthon's many supporters.

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