Georg Gisze, a German merchant in London (1532) by Hans Holbein

Georg Gisze, a German merchant in London - Hans Holbein - 1532

Artwork Information

TitleGeorg Gisze, a German merchant in London
ArtistHans Holbein
Dimensions86.2 x 97.5 cm
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationGemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany
Location Created London, United Kingdom

About Georg Gisze, a German merchant in London

The artwork entitled “Georg Gisze, a German merchant in London,” painted by Hans Holbein in 1532, is an oil painting on oak panel that exemplifies the Northern Renaissance art movement with its detailed and precise depiction of the subject and his surroundings. The portrait measures 86.2 by 97.5 centimeters and can be found in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, Germany. It was created in London, United Kingdom, and is a significant work of its genre.

The artwork depicts Georg Gisze, a successful German merchant, seated at a desk adorned with a richly patterned carpet. His attire is reflective of the period, featuring a black coat with a fur lining and a red satin sleeve. The merchant’s gaze is direct, engaging the viewer as he holds a letter in one hand, suggesting his active participation in correspondence and commerce. On the desk before him, a vase holds a selection of flowers, a common symbol of fleeting beauty and the brevity of life, while various elements of his trade, including scales, seals, and coins, allude to his profession.

Carefully arranged throughout the space are multiple papers, some affixed to the green wall behind him, which, along with a hanging string of seals, provide evidence of Gisze’s business engagements. A shelf to the right of the composition displays further items related to writing and measurement, highlighting the merchant’s meticulousness and the importance of record-keeping in his work. Holbein’s mastery in rendering textures and materials is evident in every detail of the artwork, from the sheen of the brass instruments to the crispness of the papers, imbuing the painting with a profound sense of reality and character.

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