Oswald Baldner


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(b c. 1515; d Kraków, 1575). German metalworker and gunsmith, active in Poland. He ran workshops in Nuremberg (1540–59) and in Kraków and Vilnius (1559–75). He specialized in casting guns decorated with abstract patterns and figurative compositions, after the designs of the ‘small masters’ of Nuremberg, for example Peter Flötner. While still in Germany he established close contacts with the Polish royal court in Kraków. In 1557 the Nuremberg city council granted him permission to send his guns to Poland, thereby confirming his status as a master gunsmith. Baldner's signature appears on two falconets (1557; Stockholm, Kun. Armémus.) produced for the Polish King Sigismund II Augustus and a gun (1561; Berlin, Zeughaus) cast in Kraków. Other works which are not signed but are undoubtedly by him are two small guns from Silesia (Berlin, Zeughaus) and two others at Wawel Castle in Kraków (Kraków, N. A. Cols), where polychrome gun carriages have also been preserved. The only other kind of work featuring Baldner's signature is a bell (1569) in Ołpiny, decorated with a plaque depicting the Judgement of Paris. Archive sources reveal that he produced various pieces in Kraków for the Elector of Brandenburg. Baldner sometimes incorporated in the decoration of his works likenesses of Sigismund II Augustus, mythological scenes and figures as well as coats of arms.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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