Hans Holbein the Younger was a 16th century artist who created portraits, panel paintings, fresco designs and woodcuts. Holbein created forty-two woodcuts for the book, “The Dance of Death.” The original book was published in France in 1538.
The Abbot. “Dance of Death.” 1523-6. Woodcut
The Plowman. “Dance of Death.” 1523-6. Woodcut
There are now a hundred known, official editions and hundreds of translated or digitized versions. The woodcuts represented a procession to the grave, portraying all figures from the pope to children and peasants. Holbein’s woodcuts set a new standard for the genre. Holbein also made many religious works, including illustrations of the Old Testament and the title page for Martin Luther’s bible.
Children. “Dance of Death.” 1523-6. Woodcut
A Cemetary. “Dance of Death.” 1523-6. Woodcut
The Arms of Death. “Dance of Death.” 1523-6. Woodcut
The German artist also worked extensively in England and Switzerland. He served in the Holbein painter’s guild of Basel and gained Swiss citizenship for his superb work in the country. Holbein the Younger died from the plague at the untimely age of forty-five. Despite his early death, he earned the Old Master title, and is forever remembered for his woodcuts that have reached an iconic status.