Hans Holbein: Portrait of an Unknown Man

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9780297815617: Hans Holbein: Portrait of an Unknown Man

Hans Holbein the Younger was a leading figure of the Northern Renaissance, who continues to exercise an enormous influence in our understanding of the mid-Tudor age, but who was also a member of Thomas Cromwell's intelligence service. This is his biography. Moving from the Low Countries, to Switzerland, to England, this book sets Holbein in the context of his turbulent age. We watch Holbein's rise from an uneventful life in the bourgeoisie to the echelons of power and a life of covert diplomacy in a bitterly-divided Europe. The book also provides a picture of Renaissance espionage. In parallel to the machinations of power, the book investigates the intricate puzzles that so delighted the Renaissance mind; Holbein's symbols and iconography contain codes, cyphers and hidden messages, some simply intellectual games, others of vital importance to Cromwell's purposes.

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About the Author:

Derek Wilson is a leading biographer and the author of several critically acclaimed and bestselling books including The Astors; Hans Holbein; and more recently, The King and the Gentleman, about Charles Stuart and Oliver Cromwell.

From Publishers Weekly:

As the subtitle of this intriguing speculative biography suggests, very little is known about Hans Holbein. Born in Augsburg in 1497, he encountered a Europe on the verge of great change. Perhaps he would have been less aware of this change had his father, a respected painter in his own right, not decided to send his sons away from Augsburg to study in the printing center of Basel, the Reformation's ground zero and, in Wilson's account, the formative influence on the 18-year-old newcomer's life. Wilson (A Tudor Tapestry) portrays such eminent figures as Erasmus, Zwingli and Luther, whose ideas were shaking Europe, and highlights their background in political and economic forces. The author's detective spirit is bent on restoring details effaced by time. Despite the paucity of documentation about his subject, Wilson offers an absorbing portrayal of Holbein's intellectual culture and forges convincing links to the many artworks that have been preserved. Holbein's last years at Henry VIII's Tudor court produced some of his finest works--The Ambassadors and his various wedding portraits, among others. Wilson tries a little too hard to convince readers that Holbein's early fervent spiritual commitment continued--though restrained--through his difficult later days with Henry VIII. But this is a slight wobble in an otherwise fine biography.

Copyright 1997 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Wilson, Derek
Published by George Weidenfeld & Nicholson, (1997)
ISBN 10: 029781561X ISBN 13: 9780297815617
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Wilson, Derek
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ISBN 10: 029781561X ISBN 13: 9780297815617
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Book Description George Weidenfeld & Nicholson, Ltd. LIBRARY BINDING. Book Condition: New. 029781561X New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1811364

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