HORNEBOLTE, Luke

(c. 1490/95-1544)
Luke (or Lucas) Hornebolte (variously spelled Horenbout, Hornebaud) was a member of a prominent family of artists from Ghent, where his father Gerard was in 1515 appointed court painter to Margaret of Austria, regent of the Neth­erlands. However, around 1525 Gerard Hornebolte moved his family and work­shop to England, possibly because of Lutheran sympathies as well as for economic reasons. His son Luke found employment at the court of Henry VIII* as a painter of portraits and, in particular, of portrait miniatures. In 1534 Luke Hornebolte was appointed to the honored position of painter to the king, a position that he held until his death in 1544. His father, Gerard, either died or returned to Flanders in the 1530s.
While Gerard Hornebolte had specialized in the illumination of religious man­uscripts, Luke Hornebolte worked in the field of portraits and portrait miniatures. The importation of Flemish artists into England, many of whom had been trained as illuminators (corrupted to "limners" in English), was important to the devel­opment of the English portrait miniature. Luke Hornebolte himself taught the craft of the portrait miniature to his great contemporary and colleague Hans Holbein.* Hornebolte and Holbein were both employed as painters to Henry VIII during the same period; indeed, some portraits attributed to the better-known painter Holbein may well be by Hornebolte. Henry VIII, unlike many of his princely contemporaries in the Renaissance, was not a connoisseur of art. His need was simply for accurate portraits that displayed his majesty; as a result, the court portraits of his period tend to be stiff stereotypes. But the portrait miniatures are very different, with their small size, jewel-like colors, rich set­tings, and imaginative poses. Hornebolte in particular can be credited with in­troducing the portrait miniature to English art, paving the way for Holbein, Nicholas Hilliard,* and Isaac Oliver.*
Bibliography
H. Paget, "Gerard and Lucas Hornebolte in England," Burlington Magazine, 1959, 396­402.
R. Strong, The Tudor and Stuart Monarchy: Pageantry, Painting, Iconography, 3 vols., 1995-98.
Rosemary Poole

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

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  • HOLBEIN, Hans The Younger — (1497/98 1543) Hans Holbein the Younger was born in Augsburg in 1497/98. His subsequent career, however, linked him more closely with Basel in Switzerland and, finally, London. Born some twenty five years after the great Albrecht Dürer,* Holbein… …   Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary

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