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Holbein and the Hansa

Neil MacGregor charts the rise and fall of the Hansa, or Hanseatic League, a great trading alliance of 90 cities, and the role of the painter Hans Holbein the Younger.

Neil MacGregor charts the rise and fall of the Hansa, or Hanseatic League, a great trading alliance of 90 cities, including L├╝beck, Hamburg, Danzig, Riga and London.

He also focuses on the role of the artist Hans Holbein the Younger, who painted portraits of Hansa merchants.

'If I had to choose one image to sum up the Hansa in its heyday,' says Neil MacGregor, 'It would be Holbein's 1532 portrait of Georg Gisze, a Danzig merchant trading in London.' The painting shows an expensively-dressed 33 year old man, his wealth and status indicated by a vase made of the finest, the thinnest Venetian glass, a small circular brass clock, certainly made in Southern Germany, and a Turkey carpet imported from the Levant.

Producer Paul Kobrak.

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