Hans Holbein’s Henry VIII

Hans Holbein the Younger painted many excellent portraits of English King Henry VIII in the 16th century. This article uncovers the career of this famous German painter, plus his father The Elder who also was a major name of the Northern Renaissance within the 16th century.

Hans Holbein the Younger was certainly the better known artist of this family dynasty and his portraits have helped to keep his reputation strong in the modern day because of the prominence of many of those who he covered within his career. As a talented 16th century portrait painter, Hans was invited to not only paint King Henry VIII but also many others who were closely aligned to the King such as Jane Seymour, Sir Thomas More, Anne of Cleves, Sir Thomas Wyatt and Anne Boleyn. The sketches produced by the artist are heavily studied and offer a different perspective on each subject to the oil paintings.

Throughout history, and particularly during this period of the English monarchy, most notable figures would commission portraits of themselves to hang within their various properties and also to capture their moments of power and prominence for future generations of their family to enjoy. With the influx of media such as television and photography, there is much less need for this nowadays but for many centuries skilled portrait artists such as Holbein would always be kept in high regard and would not be short of money or work. Indeed for someone to be considered good enough to paint the King on several occasions, there will always be plenty of work from other sources following on from this.

Henry VIII is remembered most as a monarch whose six wives hold exciting stories regarding the monarchy as well as the King’s aggression to the Catholics who became persecuted in England during his reign as he went about strengthening his position and power as far as possible right across his 37 years in power which began back in 21 April 1509 and continued right up until his death at the age of 54.

Conclusively, there can be no doubt that the series of portraits of Henry VIII is the best remembered art works from the career of Hans Holbein the Younger, who was himself the most successful painter from the family. Further portraits of other notable figures around that time have placed this German painter within the history of England and as someone who helps us to better understand the personalities involved in ruling England within the 16th century.

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