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on 25 January 2010
This book is ideal for art students or anyone who wants to enhance their drawing skills through copying the drawings of the Old Masters. The drawings are of really good quality and practially every single drawing is suitable for practical purposes. The book is what is called "value for money", strongly recommend to anyone who is studying art. Holbein Portrait Drawings: 44 Plates by Hans Holbein the Younger (Dover Art Library)
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on 16 October 2014
With the exception of the cover image the inner 44 plates are extremely poor quality. The sensitivity and subtlety of the original drawings have been completely lost and one is presented instead with leaden grey images that look as if they were produced on a tired old office photocopier on a bad day.

It's such a pity, the originals are some of the most vibrant and fresh portrait drawings of any era and they are reproduced here with such total disregard for quality and fidelity.

Yes, it's a low cost publication, but I would have preferred ten good quality plates for the same money.

The publishers should be ashamed to produce such rubbish.
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on 12 May 2014
Holbeins drawings are masterpieces, and I have seen many of the originals at Windsor and the National portrait gallery. The book has a shiny top cover, but the images and paper quality of the inner pages are not good at all. They look like a photocopy you would make at a library, and as such they lose all the subtle nuance of line. Yes, it is a cheap book, and it may be good for those wanting a quick glance. Id recommend spending more and reviewing the book elsewhere in person at a shop. I know if I had seen this in a shop I would not have considered it.
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on 3 September 2010
If you don't know much about Holbein then this is a good book to start with as it's inexpensive and contains a large number of illustrations which introduce his style. Holbein was one of the greatest portrait painters of all time and there are some great 'coffee table' books to move onto after this if you're suitably enamoured with his handiwork.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 March 2013
Holbein's drawings are uncannily modern; one feels one is in the presence of the sitter in a way which is not experienced with any other artist, not even the extraordinary Ingres. Only the most obstinate would now deny that he used an optical device; there is plenty of evidence from the time, but the assurance of the drawings is testament to the fact that the skill of the draughtsman is still the most important thing.

Dover Art Library's collection is useful for the student but suffers from being in monochrome; Holbein's drawings (despite the assumption of another reviewer that they are charcoal) were made in coloured chalks, often on tinted paper. Any coloured reproduction will show that Holbein was a master not merely of line but of the infinite subtleties of skin tones. Broad sweeps of rich colour often indicate those which will apear in the final oil composition.

Far more Holbein drawings survive than the oil paintings which in many cases were made from them. However, we have enough finished protraits to show the extent to which Holbein modified his observations in the process - not just when dealing with a near-psychopathic monarch, but when painting for quite ordinary clients. Mary, Lady Guildford, a buxom lady with a remarkable twinkle in her eye, was toned down to a sober matronliness for the finished job, while her husband's bland, relaxed face is sharpened into a more warriorly resolve. Anyone wishing to understand Holbein's skill would be advised to get a book with a greater range of his work in it.

This is an inexpensive book and does do what it says on the tin. A greater insight into Holbein's work can be found in the flawed but still valuable Holbein in England, which for a few pounds more has colour reproductions (not all as big as these) and some nice comparisons between drawings and oils.
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on 29 November 2013
This is a low cost book and excellent for those who want to see some A4 size reproductions of Holbein drawings

There are no descriptions or background notes, but at this price you shouldn't expect them.
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on 2 February 2015
It's not easy to get images of Holbeins wonderful drawings. as a Tudor-phile I love to see what the characters looked like (the cover is Anne Boleyn), so this is a boon, but one printed on really cheap paper which is unpleasant to the touch. A pity.
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on 28 November 2016
bought this for a present, really pleased with the book. the drawings are really good to help with in the study of portraiture
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on 23 October 2014
Love Holbien as I am particularly interested in portrait drawing. He is the master and one can learn so much.
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on 1 August 2012
These Dover Art series are absolutely fine for giving students an idea of how the Old Masters did it - however the plates are all black and white and the quality of reproduction is somewhat grainy. Many of the drawings involved red chalk, so that aspect is lost. So not too good for copying, but in this case very good for getting an overview of Holbein protraits and his brilliant draughtsmanship.
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