Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Holbein in England: Tate Britain

Hans Holbein the Younger (1497 to about 1543)
Bishop John Fisher (about 1532)
Lent by Her Majesty The Queen
Coloured chalks, watercolour, brush, pen and ink on pink primed paper 382 x 234 mm

John Fisher (about 1469 to 1535) became Bishop of Rochester and Chancellor of Cambridge University in 1504.
As a result of his opposition to Henry VIII`s divorce, he was imprisoned along with Sir Thomas More and beheaded. The pink priming of the paper suggests that the drawing must date from the early 1530s, when Fisher was already an opponent of the King`ss policies and in poor health.
No painted portrait based on the drawing survives.
The Italianate inscription seems to refer to Fisher`s execution.

Until 7 January 2007: Holbein in England at Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1 4RG

One of the great artists of the Renaissance, Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) began his career painting altarpieces and religious subjects in Germany. But as the Protestant Reformation gathered strength, and demand for decorated churches dwindled, Holbein's subjects changed under the humanist influence of Erasmus. In 1526 he visited England at the request of Sir Thomas More, who described Holbein as “a wonderful artist”, but worried “he is not likely to find England so fertile as he hoped.”

The exhibition concentrates on the great body of work he produced at the Tudor court and in the service of Henry VIII.