Hans the Elder Burgkmair


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(b Augsburg, 1473; d Augsburg, May/Aug. 1531).

German painter and designer of woodcuts, the leading artist of his day in Augsburg. He was the son of a painter, ThomanBurgkmair (c.1445–1523), who was probably his first teacher, and in about 1488–90 he studied with Schongauer in Colmar. After his return to Augsburg he was soon busy producing illustrations for publishers and he kept up this work throughout his career, in addition to his output as a painter. Most of his paintings are on religious subjects, but he was also a good portraitist. In 1507 he is documented in Italy, and he probably made another visit or visits before this, for his work shows strong Renaissance influence, in the breadth and dignity of his figures, his warmth of colour, and his use of classical motifs. Indeed, he occupied a place in Augsburg comparable to that of Dürer in Nuremberg in introducing the new style. Like Dürer, he worked a good deal for Maximilian I (see Habsburg); his chiaroscuro woodcut of the emperor (1508) is one of the first examples of this type of print. His other patrons included Duke William IV of Bavaria, for whom he painted the Battle of Cannae (1529, Alte Pin., Munich), part of the same series as Altdorfer's celebrated Battle of Issus. Burgkmair was married to the sister of Hans Holbein the Elder. Their son, HansBurgkmairthe Younger (c.1500–59), was a painter and engraver, also active in Augsburg.

Subjects: Art.

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