Portrait of a Scholar or Cleric

Like all portrait drawings that Holbein made during his later years in England, this work is relatively small and on paper toned with a light-pink ground. The pink preparation allowed Holbein to efficiently render his White European sitters’ complexions by adding lighter and darker colors to its warm-hued middle tone. Although this man’s identity is unknown, the felt cap and hooded robe suggest that he was a scholar or cleric. Now in the collection of the Getty Museum, this is the only portrait drawing securely attributed to Holbein in the United States.

Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/98–1543)
Portrait of a Scholar or Cleric, 1532–35
Black and red chalks, and pen and brush and black ink on pink prepared paper
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; 84.GG.93

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles