Johann Froben

Despite its small scale, Holbein’s posthumous portrait of Johann Froben (1460–1527), originally enclosed in a carved frame with a lid, conveys the determined character of the Basel printer. It is one of the first known portraits of a European book printer, suggesting the importance of Froben to the printing industry as well as to Holbein’s career. Erasmus entrusted the publication of most of his texts to Froben, whose enterprise influenced book production throughout Europe. Froben hired Holbein to design woodcut illustrations for his publications beginning in 1516.

Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/98–1543)
Johann Froben, ca. 1528–32
Oil and tempera on panel
Private collection