Hans Holbein the Younger and Whitework

Portrait of Hermann von Wedig III, by Hans Holbein the Younger (painted in 1532). Portrait of Hermann von Wedig III, by Hans Holbein the Younger (painted in 1532). Copryright Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, acc. no. 50.135.4.

The German artist Hans Holbein the Younger (c. 1497-1543) is known for his fine drawings and paintings, especially those of a religious nature, and for his portraits of North European royalty and notables. Holbein is particularly famous for paintings with highly detailed elements, especially the clothing of his sitters and the embroidery used to decorate the various garments. The embroidery techniques include whitework.

Two paintings with whitework have been selected and are listed below in chronological order (the page numbering follows Buck and Sander 2003):

  • Portrait of Hermann von Wedigh (1532): the sitter is wearing a shirt with an indication of a knotwork design embroidered in whitework on his collar. The collar is also edged with lace of some form (p. 81; The Metropolitan Museum of Art).
  • Portrait of Cyriacus Kale (1533): the sitter is wearing a white shirt whose collar band is embellished with zig-zags and rosettes (?) in whitework (pp. 98-99; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Braunschweig).

Source: BUCK, Stephanie and Jochen SANDER (eds.; 2003). Hans Holbein: Portraitist of the Renaissance, Zwolle: Uitgeverij Waanders b.v.

Metropolitan Museum of Art online catalogue (retrieved 29 June 2016).


Last modified on Saturday, 29 April 2017 19:22