Hans Holbein the Younger

From Spanking Art
Holbein's famous marginal birching drawing.
Reproduction without the text.

Hans Holbein the Younger (c. 1497 – 1543) was a German artist and printmaker. He is best known for his numerous portraits and his woodcut series of the Dance of Death, and is widely considered one of the finest portraitists of the Early Modern Period.

His father was Hans Holbein the Elder, who is also a famous artist. Hans Holbein the Younger was born in Augsburg and in 1515, aged about 18, he and his elder brother Ambrosius Holbein went to Basel, where they received a basic education. During this period, Holbein drew a famous series of pen and ink illustrations in the margins of a book owned by his schoolmaster, The Praise of Folly, by the Dutch humanist Erasmus. Holbein was introduced to Erasmus, and later painted three portraits of him.

Among these marginal drawings is one that shows a famous teacher-student bare bottom birching. The drawing seems to have been inspired by the words "Tyranis ludi magistrorum" (tyranny of the teacher?), which are printed in the margin.

Interestingly, reproductions of this drawing often vary in the schoolmaster's outstretched right foot -- perhaps because it was cut off when the book was rebound.

Derived work[edit]

Some other artist seems to have created his own version of Holbein's drawing. In this version, the spanker appears to be a woman. This version of the drawing is obviously not by Holbein.

See also[edit]


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