Volume 2, Number 11
New SegPlayPC™ Patterns
There's two new SegPlayPC™ pattern collections available this month.
One new set is Hans Holbein the Younger - German Portraitist.
Hans Holbein the Younger (1497 - 1543) was a German born painter who is considered one of the finest portraitists in the Early Modern Period. As a court painter for Henry VIII, Hans drew many portraits of both Henry VIII, and the extended royal family. He is also known for painting many richly colored religious works in the late Gothic style. Our large collection of Hans Holbein the Younger patterns includes several portraits of Henry VIII, as well as those of Erasmus, Jane Seymour, Boniface Amerbach, Thomas Chromwell, Christina of Denmark, Jan Small, Anne of Cleves, and Sir Thomas More. There are also several religious patterns including The Last Supper and Adam and Eve, and a self-portrait.
Hans Holbein the Younger - German Portraitist
Another SegPlayPC™ set available this month is Let it Snow!.
Snow has an amazing and truly magical effect when added to natural scenes. The serene and peaceful beauty of snow can take your breath away. Trees, fields, and mountaintops look quite amazing when dusted with a bit of snow. In this spirit, our "Let it Snow" pattern set captures the beauty of snow adorned scenes. In these 21 patterns created from stunning photographs, you'll find many pictures with a snowy theme. You'll find snow on mountaintops, reflecting in water, adorning trees, on the top of fences, windmills, and roadways, on sunlit fields, and as backdrops to skiers and snowboarders.
Let it Snow!
Our new SegPlay™ version based on Adobe's Flash technology is just about ready for prime time. If you want to give it a while, please visit the SegPlayFlash™ site (remember its still work in progress!) And please, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you think of the new version.
We're starting to give some though on redesigning our website a bit to make it easier to navigate. Like an overstuffed closet, we've added a bunch of pages over the past 7 years and need to do a bit of cleaning up.
We're always looking for more appealing art pieces for our SegPlay™ online paint by number collection. If you are an aspiring artist and am interested in setting up a free personal category on SegPlay to showcase some of your work in our fun paint by number world, drop us an email email@example.com
We hope you enjoyed reading this newsletter. Please feel free to pass it on to a friend or colleague. If you have any comments or suggestions about this newsletter, please drop us an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Painting (and have a great Holiday season!!)
-Mark & Beth
Artist Of The Month: Hans Holbein the Younger
Hans Holbein the Younger (born c. 1497 – died 1543) was a German portrait painter, designer, draftsman, and printmaker. His works are remarkable for the realistic attention to detail and rendering of textures, costumes and jewelry of his subjects.
The details of Holbein’s early life are rather vague; even the exact year of his birth is unknown. However, it is recorded that he was born in Augsburg, Germany to a family of painters. His father, Hans Holbein the Elder, painted altar pieces for local churches. The young Hans and his brother Ambrosius learned to paint in their father’s studio and in 1514 or 1515, the two brothers were sent to work in Basel, where they painted murals, produced woodcut prints, and designed stained glass windows. During this period Holbein visited Italy to see the works of the Italian masters and Lucerne to work with his father on a set of murals for the city hall.
Ambrosius died tragically in 1519 and Hans took over their workshop, joining the Basel painter’s guild and marrying Elsbeth Binsenstock. She was a widow with a son from her previous marriage. The couple had another two sons and two daughters together. Holbein was doing well after his marriage; he became a town burgher and had many commissions. Some of his most famous woodcuts from this period include illustrations for Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible and a series of prints entitled The Dance of Death. He came to know Erasmus, the famous Dutch humanist, who commissioned Holbein to produce a set of pen and ink illustrations for his satirical work, The Praise of Folly. Holbein also painted three portraits of Erasmus.
Around 1525 Switzerland became embroiled in the factional fighting of the Reformation and work became scarce. Holbein set out for England to try his luck, taking with him two letters of introduction from Erasmus. One of the letters was addressed to Sir Thomas More, who later became Lord Chancellor. Holbein painted several official portraits of him, which show the meticulous attention to detail and the decorative effects for which he would later become famous. Holbein was successful in England and stayed there for two years, returning to his wife and children in Basel only in 1528.
Back in Basel, Holbein received commissions but the aftershock of the Reformation made life for painters impossible. Religious paintings were being destroyed, Erasmus had gone into exile and in 1532, Holbein decided to leave. Abandoning his family for the second time, he set out again for England. He would never return.
Much had changed in London during the two years Holbein had been away, Sir Thomas More had quarreled with King Henry VIII and would be executed a few years later. Holbein needed new patrons. Word of his exquisite portraits soon reached the Tudor Court and in 1536 Holbein was appointed official painter to King Henry VIII. He is thought to have done around 150 portraits for the court. He painted life-size murals and charming miniatures. Notable among these works is a life size portrait of Henry VIII. One of Holbein’s trademarks was his fascination with textures: jewelry, velvet, needlepoint, fur, buttons and plants are all painted with realism and attention to detail, although critics claim that this attention to detail came at the expense of revealing the personality of his subjects. The only portrait he ever painted where the emotion of his sitters can be seen is the unhappy group portrait of the wife and children he had left behind in Basel. Interestingly, as a result of his realistic portraits, Holbein was also appointed fashion designer to the court. He designed state robes, buttons, buckles, even the decorations for the coronation of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, who would later be beheaded.
Holbein painted many portraits of Henry VIII’s wives and following the death of Jane Seymour, Henry’s third wife, in 1539 the king sent Holbein to paint the portraits of eligible brides. One of the potential brides was Anne of Cleves. Henry, taken by the beauty of Holbein’s portrait, decided to marry her. Alas, the portrait of Ann was more beautiful than the real thing and, disenchanted, Henry divorced Ann in the same year he married her.
In 1543, while Holbein was working on a portrait of Henry VIII, the plague struck London and Holbein fell victim. His will showed that he had two children born out of wedlock. He left no possessions, but he did leave a body of work that would influence English painters for the next generation.
You can find a large collection of Hans Holbein the Younger patterns to use with SegPlayPC™  here.
Art in the News:
Unknown Breughel Unearthed in Netherlands
Source: International Herald Tribune
A previously unknown work by famous 17th century artist Pieter Breughel the Younger was discovered by an art expert while examining an amateur collector’s artifacts on a TV program called “Between Art and Kitsch.”
The painting, which was made around 1620, is a small, circular work of 6.7 inches in diameter and portrays a farmer and his wife leaning against a tree. Breughel signed the work on the tree trunk. The owner is an old lady who had bought the painting from an antique shop in 1950 for around $925; today it is valued at $143,000.
New Christmas Stamp Features Botticelli Mother and Child
The Virgin and Child with Young John the Baptist by Renaissance master, Sandro Botticelli, is the choice for America's 2008 Christmas stamp.
The original painting, part of the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, is a round format oil and tempera on wood piece, dated at around 1490, depicting the Virgin Mary with John the Baptist, still a child. The painting has undergone extensive restoration across the years, and whole sections are believed to have been painted by Botticelli’s apprentices; however, the Virgin’s face is believed to be the original painted by Botticelli.
The U.S. Postal service, which has featured Madonna and Child themes on the Christmas stamp since 1978, announced the issue of the Botticelli stamp at a ceremony in Madison Square Garden. “We are proud that this stamp, depicting the loving relationship between mother and child, will decorate billions of greeting cards, letters and packages this holiday season”, said Susan M. Brownell, vice president, Supply Management, for the United States Postal Service.
Outside the Lines
Rembrandt may well have been one of the greatest artists of his day, but when he died he was completely broke. He did not even have the necessary amount to pay for his burial (the equivalent of around five bucks) and the costs had to be paid by one of his friends.
Instead of adding his signature to his painting, The Ambassadors, Hans Holbein painted a small skull instead. This was an allegory of his name, which means “hollow bone” in old German.
The artists of the Italian Renaissance came up with the term "Gothic" to describe a style of painting they looked down on as inferior. The Goths were a Germanic people who had looted ancient Rome and devastated the Roman Empire.