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By Valerio Terraroli

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V of Erasmus, Encomium moriæ, Basle, . Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basle (Kupferstichkabinett).     - not mentioned, however, and Erasmus’ text concentrates on the privilege of possessing a work by these two artists.  It is indeed in this illustration that Holbein first considers the legendary ancient painter. A further commentary on artistic practice in these marginal drawings to the Encomium is to be found in the sketch of the Chimæra, where the mythological creature is depicted as she is described in Horace’s De arte poetica (illus.

As a result he decided to enter into the lists with Dürer and Apelles. Characteristic of this is the inscription at the top of the portrait of Philipp Melanchthon (illus.  The portrait, which was probably painted in England in the s after a model by Dürer or Cranach, contradicts the former’s distinction between the body and the soul and the idea of the inferiority of the artist’s representation of a person. It seems that, as a result of his second stay in England and of his concentration primarily on portraiture, Holbein renewed and honed his art.

The outer wings of van Eyck’s Ghent altarpiece exploited this device as early as , but here it was rather through the imitation of stonework.  Witz seems to have translated these Netherlandish sophistications into his own, simpler idiom. Holbein the Elder must have been acquainted with such Netherlandish devices, although he does not seem to have paid too much attention to the problems involved. In some rare works, such as the Christ as the Man of Sorrows, he set his figure within a niche (illus.

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