Arts & Culture


Christina of Denmark, Duchess of Milan

Hans Holbein the Younger1538

The National Gallery, London
The National Gallery, London

Christina, younger daughter of Christian II of Denmark and Isabella of Austria, sister of Charles V, was born in 1522. In 1533 she married by proxy the Duke of Milan, who died in 1535.

Holbein visited Brussels in 1538, and for three hours Christina sat for a portrait. She wears mourning clothes. The English ambassador was arranging for Henry VIII to see the Duchess's likeness in connection with plans to marry her.

However, in 1541 she married Fran├žois, Duc de Bar, who succeeded his father as Duc de Lorraine in 1544 and died in 1545, leaving Christina Regent of Lorraine. She died in 1590.

Read more


  • Title: Christina of Denmark, Duchess of Milan
  • Creator: Hans Holbein the Younger
  • Date Created: 1538
  • Physical Dimensions: 179.1 x 82.6 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on oak
  • School: German
  • Inventory number: NG2475
  • Artist Dates: 1497/8 - 1543
  • Artist Biography: Holbein was one of the most accomplished portraitists of the 16th century. He spent two periods of his life in England (1526-8 and 1532-43), portraying the nobility of the Tudor court. Holbein's famous portrait of Henry VIII (London, National Portrait Gallery) dates from the second of these periods. 'The Ambassadors', also from this period, depicts two visitors to the court of Henry VIII. 'Christina of Denmark' is a portrait of a potential wife for the king. Holbein was born in Augsburg in southern Germany in the winter of 1497-8. He was taught by his father, Hans Holbein the Elder. He became a member of the Basel artists' guild in 1519. He travelled a great deal, and is recorded in Lucerne, northern Italy and France. In these years he produced woodcuts and fresco designs as well as panel paintings. With the spread of the Reformation in Northern Europe the demand for religious images declined and artists sought alternative work. Holbein first travelled to England in 1526 with a recommendation to Thomas More from the scholar Erasmus. In 1532 he settled in England, dying of the plague in London in 1543. Holbein was a highly versatile and technically accomplished artist who worked in different media. He also designed jewellery and metalwork.
  • Acquisition Credit: Presented by The Art Fund with the aid of an anonymous donation, 1909

Discover more