Spanning Holbein’s entire career, the exhibition starts with his early years in Basel, where Holbein was active in the book trade and created iconic portraits of the great humanist scholar Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466–1536). In addition to showcasing Holbein’s renowned drawn and painted likenesses of these sitters, the exhibition highlights the artist’s activities as a designer of prints, printed books, personal devices (emblems accompanied by mottos), and jewels.
Works by Holbein’s famed contemporaries, such as Jan Gossaert (ca. 1478–1532) and Quentin Metsys (1466–1530), and a display of intricate period jewelry and book bindings offer further insights into new cultural interests in the representation of individual identity, and highlight the visual splendor of the art and culture of the time.
Image: Hans Holbein the Younger, A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling (Anne Lovell?), ca. 1526–28