Holbein's Second Portrait of Nicolas Bourbon

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Marr, Alexander 

The woodcut portrait of the French neo-Latin poet Nicolas Bourbon (1503/5-after 1550) designed by Hans Holbein the Younger (ca. 1497-1543) is well known. (Figure 1) First published in Bourbon’s little collection of verses and letters, Paedagogeion (1536), it was based on Holbein’s ad vivum drawing of the poet, made during his brief exile in England in 1535. Surprisingly, it has been barely remarked upon that a second woodcut portrait of Bourbon, the design of which is attributed here to Holbein, was published a few years later in another of Bourbon’s books. In what follows, I set out the circumstances in which this second portrait was likely made, and how it may be interpreted in relation to the first picture and Bourbon’s self-fashioning as a ‘poet laureate’.

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Bibliotheque d'Humanisme et Renaissance: travaux et documents
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Librairie Droz SA
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