National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Edward VI as a Child Hans Holbein the Younger (painter)
German, 1497/1498 - 1543
Edward VI as a Child, probably 1538
oil on panel
overall: 56.8 x 44 cm (22 3/8 x 17 5/16 in.) framed: 80 x 68.6 x 10.2 cm (31 1/2 x 27 x 4 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection
On View
From the Tour: German Painting and Sculpture in the Late 1400s and 1500s
Object 9 of 12

During his second period in England, from 1532 until his death in 1543, Holbein became court painter to Henry VIII. This portrait of Henry's much desired heir is presumably the one Holbein presented to the king as a New Year's gift in 1539. The prince, born on October 12, 1537, was the son of Henry's third wife, Jane Seymour. The Latin inscription, written by the poet Sir Richard Morison, exhorts the boy to imitate the virtues of his royal father.

Holbein simultaneously indicated the subject's childhood innocence and regal power. Edward holds a baby rattle as though it were a monarch's scepter, and he waves with an open hand, a gesture implying generosity to his people.

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