Portrait of his wife and children by Hans Holbein

Portrait of his wife and children by Hans Holbein

When in 1528 Holbein returned to Basel from England, he found his family in distress. In the magnificent portrait of his wife and two children, their faces look tired and sad. His wife’s eyes even swelled a little from tears or a sleepless night. Holding the children to her, she is sad and immersed in herself. There is no despair in her gaze, but there is no hope, but only a premonition of loneliness and separation.

His children portrayed his children touchingly to tears. The boy, the older one, looks sadly upwards, he is not childishly serious. A girl, a baby with an angelic plump handles, but with such a sad expression on her face.

There is no restraint and stiffness of his English portraits, but there is a high ability to convey the mood, feelings, atmosphere. The work makes you think about the relationship between the artist and his wife, who was separated from him for many years and brought up her four children alone. A turning point in family life can be seen here, in Elizabeth’s tired and exhausted face…

In 1532 Hans Holbein the Younger left Basel because of religious reforms and the Reformation and returned to England, London. Nothing is known about the future fate of his family and children.

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