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Franny Moyle: The King’s Painter: The Life and Times of Hans Holbein - Part of Derby Book Festival


Hans Holbein the Younger is chiefly celebrated for his beautiful and precisely realised portraiture, which includes representations of Henry VIII, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Anne of Cleves, Jane Seymour and an array of the Tudor lords and ladies he encountered during the course of two sojourns in England.

But beyond these familiar images, which have come to define our perception of the Tudor court, Holbein was a multi-faceted genius: a humanist, satirist, political propagandist and contributor to the history of book design, as well as a religious artist and court painter. The rich layers of symbolism and allusion that characterise his work have proved especially fascinating to scholars.

Franny Moyle traces and analyses the life and work of an extraordinary artist against the backdrop of an era of political turbulence and cultural transformation, to which his art offers a subtle and endlessly refracting mirror.

The King’s Painter: The Life and Times of Hans Holbein was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week.