Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8 - 1543), one of the most versatile and admired painters of the Northern Renaissance, trained under his father in Augsburg and then worked for leading patrons in Switzerland before settling in England as Court Painter to Henry viii.
Holbein was a hugely ambitious artist, and even during his formative years in Lucerne and Basle designed jewellery, stained glass and woodcuts as well as paint major altarpieces and portraits.
He also carried out several monumental decorative schemes for private houses and civic buildings.
In all his commissions Holbein sought to rival the greatest masters of Germany and Italy - notably Durer and Mantegna - as well as Antiquity, and by the time of his visit to France in 1524 he was determined to secure a position as court painter.
This, and the precarious situation he was finding himself in as a result of the Reformation's increasing hostility to religious works, drove him to England for good in 1532, where in addition to decorative schemes and Triumphs he both drew and painted numerous unrivalled likenesses of leading courtiers, merchants and diplomats, among which is his celebrated double portrait 'The Ambassadors'. This acclaimed, richly illustrated book by Oskar Batschmann and Pascal Griener - now available in a revised and expanded Second Edition - is a major advance in our understanding of Holbein's contribution to European art.
The authors re-examine every aspect of a remarkable career, in which they take full account of the artistic and cultural influences that affected the artist and of his friendships with leading humanists such as Erasmus and Sir Thomas More, and cast fresh light on many hitherto vexing questions and misunderstandings.