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Head of Zeus
The King's Painter
The King's Painter: The Life and Times of Hans Holbein Franny Moyle

A BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK

'A great, thrusting codpiece of a book. It is big, bombastic and richly brocaded ... A jewel in its own right' The Times

'Evokes the painter and his world as vividly as a Holbein masterpiece. Beautifully written and illustrated, this book is a must for lovers of Tudor history' Tracy Borman

Full of insight ... This is a gorgeous book, to which I am sure I shall return again and again' Dan Jones

Hans Holbein the Younger is chiefly celebrated for his beautiful and precisely realised portraiture, which includes representations of Henry VIII, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Anne of Cleves, Jane Seymour and an array of the Tudor lords and ladies he encountered during the course of two sojourns in England. But beyond these familiar images, which have come to define our perception of the world of the Henrician court, Holbein was a protean and multi-faceted genius: a humanist, satirist, political propagandist, and contributor to the history of book design as well as a religious artist and court painter. The rich layers of symbolism and allusion that characterise his work have proved especially fascinating to scholars.

Franny Moyle traces and analyses the life and work of an extraordinary artist against the backdrop of an era of political turbulence and cultural transformation, to which his art offers a subtle and endlessly refracting mirror.

Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * Modern History
27 May 2021 * 576pp * £0.99 * 9781788541206
REVIEWS
'This is a great, thrusting codpiece of a book. It is big, bombastic and richly brocaded ... I take my feathered cap off to Moyle and her publishers. This is a triumph of book-making as well as biography. This sumptuous book is a jewel in its own right'
The Times
'Evokes the painter and his world as vividly as a Holbein masterpiece. Beautifully written and illustrated, this book is a must for lovers of Tudor history'
Tracy Borman
'Franny Moyle rediscovers the elusive man behind the most famous artworks in Tudor England. The King's Painter is full of insight into Hans Holbein's artistic process but also gives us a seat beside a man who had an access-all-areas pass to the most intimate circles in sixteenth-century Europe. This is a gorgeous book, to which I am sure I shall return again and again'
Dan Jones
'One of the great strengths of Moyle's book is that it allows you to view Holbein's enormous versatility. Ambitious [and] sumptuously illustrated'
Spectator
'Vivid, judicious and lavishly illustrated'
Sunday Times
'A lavish, unflagging catalogue and summary of the state of our knowledge of Holbein'
Daily Telegraph
'Vivid and engaging ... Drawing on extensive research, Moyle proves that Holbein was so much more than just a painter ... Although The King's Painter is fascinating for the fresh perspective it gives of the Tudor world, its greatest achievement is to bring Holbein out from behind his easel and shown him in all his brilliant, multi-faceted, human glory'
BBC World History Magazine
'This fascinating account brings the Tudor era compellingly to life'
History Revealed
'I devoured this book in days. It brings to vibrant, colourful life the man who gave us almost our entire visual understanding of Henry VIII and his court. Thoroughly researched and written with a verve and style that makes reading it like reading a good novel'
Aspects of History
'The publisher Head of Zeus is acquiring a reputation for producing gorgeous-looking books. This life of Holbein is a case in point. Holbein's extraordinary life story is traced from Germany to the court of Henry VIII, where he painted the monarch in that famous power stance. Not all the paintings are so simple in their messages. The Ambassadors, with its mysterious stretched image of a skull, is typical of Holbein’s tricksy style'
The Times
'This excellent, lavishly illustrated, biography of Hans Holbein the Younger vividly captures the artist's life, times and work amid the religious and political turmoil of the 16th century'
Choice Magazine
'Through telling his story anew, author Franny Moyle not only shines a light on the man who has come to define our perception of the Henrician court, but also many aspects of the Tudor era, a time of political turbulence and utter cultural transformation'
This England
Author
Franny Moyle
Franny Moyle
Franny Moyle is a British television producer and author. Her first book Desperate Romantics was adapted into the BBC drama serial of the same title by screenwriter Peter Bowker. Her second book Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde was published in 2011 to critical acclaim. In 2016 she released The Extraordinary Life and Times of J.M.W Turner.
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