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Hans Holbein the Younger 149798-1543 During the end of the fifteenth century and at the beginning of the sixteenth century lived one of the greatest portrait artists of all time His name is Hans Holbein and was part of what is called the Northern Renaissance He was born into a family of artists with his father uncle and older brother all artists Hans Holbein is referred to as the younger because his fathers name is also Hans Holbein and he is referred to as the elder Holbein the younger was born in the winter of either 1497 or 1498 in a very wealthy city called Augsburg Germany At an early age he began to study painting with his father who was also a recognized artist of the portraits In the year 1515 when Hans the younger was around 17 or 18 years old he moved away from his family and established himself in Basel Switzerland as a book illustrator His work in Basel during the decade of 1515 to 1525 was extremely varied and sometimes derived from anothers work It was during this decade that Holbein made a trip to Italy and there he ran into the works of the Italian Renaissance painters like Leonardo da Vinci The impact of these and other artists on Holbeins work can be seen in the portraits of Erasmus of Rotterdam and in his Dead Christ In each of these portraits Holbein displayed the characteristics of the human figure with the richness of color and the detail of their figures which characterized the work of the North Italian masters These Italian artists were masters of the human figure studying every single body part to perfect the painting Sometimes they dissected cadavers to learn more about the human figure and perfect it in the arts They believed the sciences and arts work together to form the painting It was also during Holbeins younger years and in Basel that he
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