August 18, 2021

New Book Explores the Sophisticated and Engaging Portraits of Renaissance Master Hans Holbein

New Book Explores the Sophisticated and Engaging Portraits of Renaissance Master Hans Holbein

This catalogue compliments the first major North American exhibition of the artist’s paintings

LOS ANGELES, CA– Hans Holbein the Younger portrayed his contemporaries with supreme technical skill and attention to detail, during a time when representation of the individual through image, text, or some combination thereof reached new heights. Known today primarily for his portraits, Holbein was one of the most versatile and inventive artists of the early 1500’s. In drawings and paintings of arresting verisimilitude, Holbein conveyed the ideals and pursuits of a wide range of patrons, including scholars, statesmen, courtiers, and women of distinction.

Holbein: Capturing Character (J. Paul Getty Museum, $50) explores the artist’s visual strategies and intellectual approach to personal identity. In addition to reproducing many of Holbein’s painted and drawn portraits, the book delves into his relationships with leading humanists, such as Erasmus of Rotterdam and Thomas More, and considers his drawing technique as well as his contributions to book printing and culture. Examination of his finely lettered inscriptions and his designs for jewels, hat badges, and other exquisite objects reveals the impressive range of Holbein’s skill and ingenuity.  

This volume is published to accompany the first major show of Holbein’s paintings in the US, and will be on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from October 9, 2021-January 9, 2022, and the Morgan Library & Museum from February 11-May 15, 2022.

Anne T. Woollett is curator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Austéja Mackelaité is the Annette and Oscar de la Renta Assistant Curator of Drawings and Prints at the Morgan Library & Museum. John T. McQuillen is the associate curator of printed books and bindings at the Morgan Library & Museum.


Publication Information:

Holbein: Capturing Character

Edited by Anne T. Woollett, with contributions by Austéja Mackelaité, John T. McQuillen, and others

J. Paul Getty Museum

192 pages, 9 x 12 inches

175 color illustrations, and 8 b/w illustrations


ISBN 978-1-60606-747-5

US $50 / UK £40


Publication Date: 19 October 2021


Media Contact:

Sydney Lopez, Getty Publications

(310) 440-6536


About Getty Publications:

Getty Publications produces award-winning titles that result from or complement the work of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Conservation Institute, and Getty Research Institute. This wide variety of books covers the fields of art, photography, archaeology, architecture, conservation, and the humanities for both the general public and specialists. Publications include illustrated works on artists and art history, exhibition catalogues, works on cultural history, research on the conservation of materials and archaeological sites, scholarly monographs, critical editions of translated works, comprehensive studies of Getty’s collections, and educational books on art to interest children of all ages.


Getty Publications

1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 500

Los Angeles, CA 90049-1682


You must be logged in to view this item.

This area is reserved for members of the news media. If you qualify, please update your user profile and check the box marked "Check here to register as an accredited member of the news media". Please include any notes in the "Supporting information for media credentials" box. We will notify you of your status via e-mail in one business day.