Jost Amman


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(bapt. Zurich, 13 June 1539; d Nuremberg, 17 Mar. 1591).

Swiss printmaker and draughtsman, active mainly in Nuremberg, Germany, where he is documented from 1561. He was perhaps the most prolific book illustrator of his day and one of his pupils claimed that he produced more drawings in four years than could be carted away in a hay-wagon (in spite of this huge productivity, he was constantly in financial trouble). His woodcuts and engravings are more important as documents of contemporary life than for their artistic value and in particular there is a wealth of material on 16th-century crafts in his Eygentliche Beschreibung aller Stände auff Erden (Frankfurt, 1568; an expanded Latin edition was published in the same year, with 132 woodcuts in place of the 114 in the German original). The title translates as ‘Exact Description of All Ranks on Earth’ and the book is popularly known as the Ständebuch (Book of Trades).

Subjects: Art.

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