Erasmus of Rotterdam

Hans Holbein the Younger (German, Augsburg 1497/98–1543 London) (and Workshop(?))

Hans Holbein the Younger (German, Augsburg 1497/98–1543 London)
ca. 1532
Oil on linden panel
7 1/4 x 5 9/16 in. (18.4 x 14.2 cm); painted surface 6 15/16 x 5 1/2 in. (17.6 x 14 cm)
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Hans Holbein the Younger was one of the most celebrated portraitists of the sixteenth century. At an early age he won commissions to paint portraits of prominent merchants in Basel, and in later years he attracted powerful patrons in England, including Sir Thomas More. Holbein made several portraits of the great humanist and scholar Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466/1469 - 1536), whose letters of introduction in London led the young artist to many well-placed clients. The Lehman portrait of Erasmus, painted with sensitivity and refinement, was evidently modeled on a life study. Holbein has captured the graying, lined face of the aging scholar, whose quiet erudition is also deftly communicated.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: The white label painted at the upper left is a later addition made when the painting was in the collection of John, Lord Lumley.

  • Provenance

    John Norris, Windsor (d. 1564); Edward Banister, Windsor; probably Henry Fitzalan, earl of Arundel (d. 1580), Nonsuch Palace, Surrey; his son-in-law, John, Lord Lumley (d. 1609), Nonsuch Palace, Surrey, Lumley Castle, and London; Thomas Howard, earl of Arundel and Surrey (d. 1645); his wife, Alethea Talbot, countess of Arundel (d. 1645); Charles Howard of Greystoke; the Howards of Greystoke; J. Pierpont Morgan (d. 1913), New York (purchased from the Greystokes); his son, J. P. Morgan (d. 1943), New York and Glen Cove, Long Island. Purchased by Robert Lehman in September 1943 from the estate of J. P. Morgan through M. Knoedler and Co., New York.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History