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.
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.
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 (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. Print available here.)