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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Henry VIII Portrait Paintings by Hans Holbein

Henry VIII paintings are covered in full within this website which describes the work of famous German artist Hans Holbein the Younger who created many impressive portrait paintings of notable figures around the time of the reign of King Henry VIII, including the King himself, plus Jane Seymour, Sir Thomas More, Anne of Cleves, Sir Thomas Wyatt and Anne Boleyn.

Both Hans Holbein the Younger and Elder were major contributors to the highly respected German Northern Renaissance art movement, with the former's portraits of English King Henry VIII as included within this website being the art for which they are best remembered. Younger Holbein's achievements within his career have led to many seeing him as one of the finest portrait painters of the 16th century.

Henry VIII was the King of England in the 16th century and a major personality within British history, thanks in part to the stories behind his 6 wives as well as his influence in the progress of the Roman Catholic Church within England. Few Kings are as well as known as Henry VIII and recent media productions have helped to continue to keep his legacy very much alive, many centuries later.

Hans Holbein the Younger was also a prominent painter with religious topics, following on from his father who painted the likes of Depiction of Christ in the Temple in 1500, when Hans the Younger was only 3 years old. The Elder was part of the Late Gothic school but his career is not considered as influential by art academics in the modern day. The popularity and exposure of the figures within the Younger's portraits have also helped to keep his own reputation very strong despite the great length of time which has passed since these two painters were alive.

Henry VIII portraits cover the full length of his 37 years in charge but most by Holbein were in his later years when his looks had perhaps deserted him, but his power was as strong as ever and this is shown through the confidence which shows through in each of Holbein's Henry VIII portrait paintings. During this period in European history, rulers and almost any member of a rich family would commission portraits by the best local artists to help capture their moments of power and glory within history, particularly as at this time there were no photography or television available.

An important strength of Holbein when considering the relevancy of portrait paintings to historical studies is that this artist was particularly respected for his accuracy to what he would see in his art, making many go to call him an early member of the Realist group of artists. Holbein was never interested in joining nor forming schools of art, but this hasn't prevented him from building an impressive reputation within the Northern Renaissance artists where he is joined by the likes of Albrecht Durer.

Pictures of King Henry VIII will remain popular for many years with young students flocking to the internet to find photos for their studies as well as researching this historic English figure at the same time. Art is an excellent way of helping students to get a better idea about a particular historical person rather than simply reading an endless list of facts about them. It is always important to remember, however, that these portraits were carefully planned and not entirely indicative of the person's true character, with the artist normally under huge pressures to deliver paintings which were as complimentary as possible, even when becoming slightly innaccurate as a result.

All of the links provided within this website will take you through to the Art.com prints gallery which we highly recommend for those looking to buy reproductions of Hans Holbein's original portrait paintings to add to your own home or office wall. We regularly use them ourselves, so are happy to provide links to their store.

Henry VIII images are regularly saught online for those who want to appreciate the history of this major figure and understood more about him from a visual sense. Many use Google image search to find pictures and images of Henry VIII where as others find specific artists like Hans Holbein who are famous for having covered the King in many different portrait paintings.

Famous Paintings by Hans Holbein

There were many classic paintings and sketches produced by Hans Holbein the Younger and Elder, please see below for a list of their best, separated into the two different artists. The Younger had the more respected career and as such the list of paintings from him is much longer. The Elder had some success of his own, but is more important for his influence on the Younger.

Hans Holbein the Younger

  • Henry VIII
  • Henry VIII Portrait
  • Henry VIII 1540
  • Henry VIII and the Barber Surgeons I
  • The French Ambassadors
  • Christina of Denmark
  • Anne of Cleves
  • Erasmus
  • Sir Nicholas Pyntz
  • Thomas Howard Prince of Norfolk
  • Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling
  • The Last Supper
  • Venus and Amor
  • The Solothurn Madonna
  • Self Portrait
  • Lais of Corinth
  • Archbishop of Canterbury William Warham
  • Charles de Solier
  • Henry Guildford Portrait
  • Adam and Eve
  • Darmstadt Madonna
  • Nikolaus Kratzer
  • The Ambassadors
  • The Passion
  • St Ursula
  • De Vos van Steenwijk
  • Jane Seymour
  • Artist's Family
  • Jane Seymour Queen of England
  • Thomas Cromwell
  • Young Man at his Office Desk

Hans Holbein the Elder

  • The Flagellation, from the Altarpiece for the Dominikanerkirche, 1501
  • Madonna and Child
  • Depiction of Christ in the Temple 1500
  • Nicholas Kratzer
  • The Ambassadors, Detail of the Astronomical Instruments, 1533
  • St. Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-31) Right Hand Panel from the Triptych of St. Sebastian, 1516

The Six Wives of Henry VIII

  • Catherine of Aragon
  • Anne Boleyn
  • Jane Seymour
  • Anne of Cleves
  • Catherine Howard
  • Catherine Parr