Follower of Hans Holbein II
Follower of Hans Holbein II

Erasmus of Rotterdam

Follower of Hans Holbein II
Erasmus of Rotterdam
oil on panel
14 ¼ x 11 in. (36.2 x 28 cm.)
(Possibly) Prague Castle (1718 inventory, no. 128).
Upper Belvedere, Vienna, room 1, no. 100, by 1784; transferred to the following in the late 19th century.
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, from which acquired by
Frederick Mont, New York, 1953.
with Newhouse Galleries, New York, whence sold via William Moody, Galveston, to the present owner.
C. de Mechel, Catalogue des Tableaux de la Galerie Impériale et Royale de Vienne, Basel, 1784, p. 260, 1st room, no. 100, as "Jean Holbein le Jeane".
Belvedere, II. Stock, Altdeutsche und Altniederländische Schulen, I. Saal, no. 100.
E.R.v. Engerth, Kunsthistorische Sammlungen des Allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses. Gemälde. II. Deutsche Schulen, Vienna, 1886, pp. 137-38, no. 1583.
A. Schaeffer et al., Kunsthistorische Sammlungen des Allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses. Die Gemälde Galerie Alte Meister, Vienna, 1896, p. 250, no. 1486.
J. Rowlands, Holbein: The Paintings of Hans Holbein the Younger, Boston, 1985, p. 129, under no. 13b.

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Lot Essay

Hans Holbein II painted Erasmus of Rotterdam on several occasions and appears to have enjoyed a close relationship with the great humanist writer. When Holbein traveled to England in 1526, it was Erasmus’s letters of introduction that provided him access to key patrons within Henry VIII’s court, including Sir Thomas More. The present portrait derives from the autograph likeness that Erasmus is believed to have sent to William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1524, which today is in the collection of the Earl of Radnor, Longford Castle, Wiltshire (National Gallery, London, on loan). It is closest to the version in which Erasmus similarly appears with his hands resting on an open book of his writings, which is in the Galleria Nazionale, Parma, and is inscribed 1530.

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