A Premonstratensian Canon

Object Details


A Premonstratensian Canon


Possibly after Hans Holbein the Younger (German, 1497/1498 - 1543)




Basel, Switzerland (Place created)


about 1520


Pot-metal and colorless glass, vitreous paint, and silver stain; lead came


61 × 52 × 1 cm (24 × 20 1/2 × 3/8 in.)

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An open book, fancy robe, and heavy fur coat suggest that this man, shown kneeling in an abbey, held an elevated status in society. Although his identity is not known, he was probably a member of the abbey's order. A sash cord hangs near the canon's face, drawing attention to his ornate architectural surroundings. A sea god and goddess--symbols of classical learning--celebrate the importance of ancient mythology during the Renaissance. The canon depicted here may have commissioned this glass panel, perhaps inserted in a clear glass window in the abbey, as a form of immortalization.

There are no known surviving stained-glass portraits attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger, who, as a young artist active in Switzerland, often designed stained glass. The subject's intense facial features show intellectual acuity, consistent with Holbein's portraits in oil paint.

Images in Light: Newly Acquired Stained Glass (October 28, 2003 to April 4, 2004) (42)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 28, 2003 to April 4, 2004