Anna Cleves by Hans Holbein

Anna Cleves by Hans Holbein

The advanced character of Holbein’s art is also found with great force also in his book graphics.

In the Basel years, especially in 1516-1526, he develops extensive activity as a master book. Still quite a young man, soon after his arrival in Basel, he created eighty pen-drawings to the “Praise of Stupidity” by Erasmus of Rotterdam.

Of particular interest is Holbein’s series of wood engravings “Images of Death,” carved by a remarkable carver Hans Lutzelburger. Typical for the era theme – the image of death in the form of a skeleton, abducting people of all kinds of classes and ages – was for Holbein an occasion to create a series of images that are bright with their social orientation.

This series consists of small etchings of allegorical content, depicting expressive episodes full of unambiguous ridicule over high-ranking officials – the emperor, the king, the pope, the cardinal, etc.

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