Designs for Metalwork

These minute designs were intended for fabrication by goldsmiths and jewelers, who incorporated the intricate forms into the borders and clasps of their products. The drawings demonstrate Holbein’s refined technique, particularly his command of arabesques. The artist used similar forms to decorate the corners of his painting An Allegory of Passion.

Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/98–1543)
Designs for Metalwork, ca. 1532–43
Pen and black ink and wash; silhouetted
The British Museum, London, bequeathed by Sir Hans Sloane in 1753; SL,5308.139, SL,5308.138, SL,5308.165, SL,5308.140, SL,5308.141, SL,5308.118, SL,5308.121, SL,5308.143