Georg Giese

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Portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1532

Georg Giese (Gisze according to the title of the Holbein painting) (2 April 1497 in Danzig (Gdańsk) - died on 3 February 1562 in Danzig), was a Hanse merchant.

As a member of the Hanseatic League Giese also worked in London where he was portrayed by Hans Holbein the Younger in 1532. After returning to Danzig in 1535 he married Christine Krüger, daughter of a prestigious Danzig citizen.

His Danzig-based Patrician family, which included Albrecht Giese, bishop Tiedemann Giese etc., had come originally from Cologne. He also appears on the 100000 mark note (1923)


When Georg was stationed in the 1530s at the London branch of the Hanse, the Steelyard (Stalhof), the members of the Steelyard sat for a famous series of portraits by Hans Holbein the Younger.

The Holbein portrait commissioned by Giese, titled "Der Kaufmann Georg Gisze", identifies him by his clothing and instruments as a merchant. The painting also depicts him with carnations, at that time symbolizing his engagement. Also, a plaque depicted over his head identifies him, and states that it shows him in his 34th year, in 1532. He is holding a letter he received from his brother, written in Middle Saxon (“Middle Low German”): “Dem Erszamen/Jorgen gisze to lunden/in engelant mynem/broder to handen” (“To be handed to my brother, the honourable Jorgen gisze at London in England”).

External media
Portrait of Georg Gisze (detail of arm), by Hans Holbein the Younger.jpg
The Merchant Georg Gisze 1532, Google Art Project[1]
Holbein's The Merchant Georg Gisze, Smarthistory[2]
HOLBEIN: The Merchant Georg Gisze, Canaleducatif[3]

A misaligned set of scales and the placing of a vase of flowers too close to the edge of the table are suggestive of the instability of the world and our place within it.


  1. ^ "The Merchant Georg Gisze 1532". Google Art Project. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Holbein's The Merchant Georg Gisze". Smarthistory at Khan Academy. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 
  3. ^ "HOLBEIN: The Merchant Georg Gisze". ArtSleuth. Canaleducatif. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 


  • T. Andratschke: Deme Ersamen syriacuß Kallen te Lunde up Staelueff sy desse breff, in: Praxis Geschichte 1/2001
  • Hermann Freytag: Das Bildnis eines Danzigers, von Hans Holbein gemalt, in: Zeitschrift des Westpreussischen Geschichtsvereins 40/1899, Seite 107-115
  • Gemäldegalerie Berlin / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz: 200 Meisterwerke. Berlin 1998, S. 108-111.
  • Kurt Löcher: Der Londoner Stahlhof und Hans Holbein, in: Cord Meckseper (Hg.), Stadt im Wandel. Kunst und Kultur des Bürgertums in Norddeutschland 1150-1650, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1985, Band 3, Seite 667f.

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