Portrait of Erasmus of Rotterdam Hans Holbein Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

Erasmus of Rotterdam was a valuable contact to Hans Holbein, who provided him with several new opportunities, including a commissioned piece for politican Sir Thomas More.

Additionally to this, Erasmus also commissioned his own portrait from Holbein, which we find here. Few painter's career have been as dominated by portraiture as Holbein's, and few have managed to match the standards of this highly skilled and innovative German. Perhaps only Goya, Van Dyck and Velazquez left such a strong impact on this medium in and around the years of the Renaissance.

Erasmus himself was a well respected scholar and humanist with influence. Holbein would actually produce his portrait on several occassions, besides just the one found here. They were created in the few years before his fruitful move to England and helped to build his reputation prior to doing so. Erasmus was very helpful in getting the artist settled into his new location, initially staying in the residence of Thomas More, whom he would also later paint.

This version can be found at the National Gallery in London, an institution that currently holds one of the finest collections of paintings by Holbein of any public venue. Considering the quality and impact of his work, it is pleasing to find so many of his works have avoided being lost in private collections. You will also find The Ambassadors painting there, which remains his most famous work of all.