Hans Holbein

(1497/8-1543)


Hans Holbein was born in 1497 or 1498 in Germany. He was the second son of an artist. He came to England in 1526 to look for work as an artist. Hans Holbein painted some of the royal portraits as well as portraits of other important people in England.

Portraits at this time did not always give a true picture of the person being painted. Monarchs and other important people often had their portraits painted to create a positive impression. These portraits tell us a lot about how the sitter wanted people to see them.

This could be why Henry VIII was disappointed when he met Anne of Cleves for the first time. Her portrait led Henry to believe she was beautiful, but in real life Henry found her ugly.

Portraits were also used to give the impression of power, wealth, strength, success and pride.