Hans Holbein the Younger, a prominent German artist and printmaker of the Northern Renaissance style, created a masterpiece known as The Meyer Madonna or The Darmstadt Madonna in 1526. It was commissioned by Jakob Meyer zum Hasen, a wealthy merchant and burgomaster in Basel, Switzerland. The painting is now housed in the Schlossmuseum of Darmstadt, Germany.
The Meyer Madonna depicts the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus while accompanied by several saints and members of the Meyer family. Holbein’s skillful use of color and light creates a naturalistic appearance to the figures depicted on this canvas. This stunning piece serves as an example of religious art during this period.
Holbein’s contributions also extend to book design, satire, and Reformation propaganda. His father and uncle were successful late Gothic painters based in Germany. Holbein was highly sought after for portraits; he even painted King Henry VIII of England twice before his death in London, England in 1543 while working on yet another portrait of the King.
This painting remains evidence of Hans Holbein’s significant influence on art history during his lifetime due to its beauty and attention to detail. As one gazes at it displayed in Schlossmuseum today from all angles, one can imagine what it must have been like when unveiled more than five hundred years ago for its first audience!