Hans Holbein the Younger - German painter of the Northern Renaissance. One of the first artists who emphasized secular rather than religious subjects. So, Holbein won the favor of the public not only at home, but also abroad.
The heyday of his career began in 1515, when he and his brother moved to Basel, a cultural center and a university city. This event influenced his future career, because it gave a significant impetus to the development of the artistic talent of the aspiring artist. Acquainted with Erasmus of Rotterdam, the largest scientist nicknamed the “Prince of Humanists”, Hans Holbein receives his first large order for a book illustration.
At the same time, he paints a portrait of Erasmus of Rotterdam, which instantly brings him fame. In this picture, he proved himself to be an innovator, deliberately abandoning the Gothic tradition of writing, which until that time prevailed in German painting of the 16th century. The master’s painting has a characteristic plastic modeling, so his style can not be confused with other authors of that period. The first thing that comes to mind when looking at a portrait of a scientist is the scrupulousness, accuracy and restraint of the author himself.
There is not a single hint of fiction in the portrait, everything is so accurately drawn. No wonder Holbein was called a master of drawing, not painting. Before starting work, he thoroughly painted a portrait, filling it with the necessary details, and then he set to painting. In the portrait of the artist, the face of Erasmus of Rotterdam is full of dignity and tranquility.
This canvas has become one of the most important works of the Basel period in his work. The specificity of the transfer of reality peculiar only to Holbein is the realism of the artist’s skill and the lack of emotional coloring in the persons portrayed. Portrait genre is the field of painting where Holbein realized himself as an artist.