Erasmus, and Erasmus, and Erasmus

Manchester’s A World Lit Only by Fire is brilliant, gripping, and startlingly vivid view of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance that uses Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe as a a hook. Reading it again reminded me that in college, one of the posters decorating my walls was of Erasmus, one of the greatest of Renaissance humanists.

Massys, Erasmus, 1517

Massys, Erasmus, 1517 (Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Rome; photo Web Gallery of Art, print available here)

Seeing it again after all these years, I was surprised at how dark the colors were; but then I remembered that it was a Penguin poster, and sure enough, the reproduction on the Penguin edition of In Praise of Folly has more orange tints.

Massys, Erasmus, 1517, on cover of the Penguin edition of In Praise of Folly

Massys, Erasmus, 1517, on cover of the Penguin edition of In Praise of Folly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In searching for this portrait, I discovered that Hans Holbein the Younger did no fewer than three portraits of Erasmus, all in 1523. And here they are, because I love Holbein the Younger. (Is it the chicken or the egg? Do I only spend time anaylzing artists I love, or do I fall in love after analyzing them?)

Holbein the Younger, Erasmus, 1523 (Louvre)

Holbein the Younger, Erasmus, 1523 (Louvre – photo Web Gallery of Art. Print available here.)

Holbein the Younger, Erasmus, 1523 (Kunstmuseum, Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel - Web Gallery of Art)

Holbein the Younger, Erasmus, 1523 (Kunstmuseum, Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel – photo Web Gallery of Art – Print available here)

Holbein the Younger, Erasmus, 1523 (National Gallery, London - photo Web Gallery of Art)

Holbein the Younger, Erasmus, 1523 (National Gallery, London – photo Web Gallery of Art. Print available here.)

More

  • Want wonderful art delivered weekly to your inbox? Members of my free Sunday Recommendations list (email DuranteDianne@gmail.com) receive three art-related suggestions every week: check out my favorites from last year’s recommendations. For more goodies, check out my Patreon page.

About Dianne L. Durante

I constantly seek out art that's inspiring, thought-provoking, skillfully executed, and/or beautiful so I can share it (in jargon-free language) with others who need and enjoy such art, but don't have time to search for it themselves. As an independent scholar, writer, and lecturer, I focus on art history and history, with forays into food, history, politics, and publishing. My most recent projects are three volumes on Alexander Hamilton, Central Park: The Early Years, Innovators in Sculpture (a survey of 5,000 years of art in 2 hours), and two videoguide apps by Guides Who Know. Click on the Books & Essays tab for a list of all books. For upcoming projects, see my Patreon page.

Comments are closed.