Van Gogh •
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Hans Holbein, the Younger, was born in Augsburg, Germany. His father, a fine painter in his own right, gave young Hans his first lessons in art.
Holbein went to live in Basel, Switzerland as a young man of about seventeen and came in contact with the humanists of that flourishing city. He acquired Swiss citizenship in 1526 but before that date had become a member of the Basel artists' guild and received many commissions for paintings and designs for glass and woodcuts. Though Holbein illustrated "In Praise of Folly", in 1515, he did not meet its author, Erasmus, until the Dutch philosopher went to live in Basel in about 1523. Holbein's famous portrait of the great humanist confers upon Erasmus a dignity worthy of his great mind.
In 1523-24 Holbein traveled to France, and in 1526, with a recommendation from Erasmus to Sir Thomas More, he went to England. Holbein remained there
for two years, working for Henry VIII and beginning a series of portraits of More's family. He then returned to Basel and purchased a home with the money earned in England. In 1532, when the fanatically protestant city of Basel became the scene for iconoclasmic riots, Holbein went back to England where he remained as court painter for the rest of his life. Holbein's internationally flavored portraits are warm and honest, luminous and sensitive. His paintings represent images of history portrayed through those who have lived it.