It is unclear whether this portrait of Kungsperger, a member of an Augsburg family of merchants, was associated with a commissioned work or a free sketch. The closely cropped detail focuses on Kungsperger’s physiognomy. Because silverpoint can produce only very delicate lines, it demands subtlety in working out the details. The contour lines were reworked with brush and ink.


  • Title: Niclas Kungsperger in Left Profile
  • Creator: Hans Holbein the Elder
  • Date Created: c. 1510
  • Physical Dimensions: 10.2 × 9.4 cm
  • Technique and Material: Silverpoint, reworked with brush and ink and white heightening, on prepared paper
  • Provenance: Old inventory
  • Museum: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett
  • Inv.-No.: KdZ 2552
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-018511
  • External Link: http://www.smb.museum/museen-und-einrichtungen/kupferstichkabinett/home.html
  • Copyright: Photo © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett/ Dietmar Katz; Text © Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach, A Cooperation of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, and the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen München, Catalogue of the Exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Nov 20, 2016 – March 26, 2017, Munich: Prestel, 2016; Text © cat. no. 102 / Dorothee Wagner
  • Catalogue: https://prestelpublishing.randomhouse.de/book/Renaissance-and-Reformation/Stephanie-Buck/Prestel-com/e504919.rhd
  • Artist Dates: c. 1460–65 Augsburg–1524 Basel (?)
  • Artist Biography: Holbein, who in 1493 was working with the sculptor Michel Erhart in Ulm and was active in Augsburg, the Alsace, and Basel, was initially influenced by the Early Netherlandish painters and Martin Schongauer. From 1510 onward Italianate elements can be found in his paintings. In addition to altarpieces, some of which are in large formats, the father of Ambrosius and Hans Holbein the Younger left behind a large number of outstanding portrait drawings.

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