Erasmus (1523) by Hans Holbein

Erasmus - Hans Holbein - 1523

Artwork Information

ArtistHans Holbein
MediumOil on Panel,tempera
Dimensions32 x 42 cm
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationLouvre, Paris, France
Location Created Germany

About Erasmus

The artwork, created by Hans Holbein in 1523, is a masterful oil on panel painting with elements of tempera, embodying the refined techniques of the Northern Renaissance. Measuring 32 x 42 cm, this portrait genre artwork captures the likeness of Erasmus and is presently housed in the prestigious Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Originating from Germany, where Holbein executed this work, it has since become a significant representation of Northern Renaissance portraiture.

In examining the artwork, we observe a figure who is deeply engrossed in his writing, indicating a moment of intellectual engagement. The subject is depicted with a thoughtful expression, his gaze directed downwards toward the pages before him. He holds a pen delicately between his fingers, suggesting the careful craft of composition. The subject is dressed in the somber, yet refined attire characteristic of the period, which complements the overall tone of scholarly concentration.

The background features an intricate tapestry adorned with floral patterns, providing a rich, textured backdrop that contrasts with the smooth rendering of the subject’s skin and the soft material of his garments. The careful attention to detail in the folds of the fabric and the structure of the subject’s hand is indicative of the meticulous nature of Holbein’s craftsmanship. This intimate portrayal exemplifies the Northern Renaissance’s focus on realism and the subtle yet profound complexity of human emotion and intellect.

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