1526. Oil on wood. Schlossmuseum, Darmstadt, Germany. Read Note.
The Meyer or Darmstadt Madonna is the last, most famous and most effective of Holbein’s great religious works. This is a Schulzmantelbild (a Virgin of Pity painting), in which the donor, Jacob Meyer, appeals to divine protection for himself and his family. On the right are his wives – enwrapped profile of his first, Magdalena Baer (who died in 1511) and Dorothea Kannengiesser. Before them kneels Anna, the only surviving child. A friend of Holbein’s, one Magdalena Offenburg, posed for the Madonna. She also posed for the Lais. The commission for the painting was the result of the death of Meyer’s two sons during Holbein’s first English absence, and Meyer decided to include all members of his family, living and dead