Marcin Kober

(c. 1550—1598)

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(b Breslau, Silesia [now Wrocław, Poland], c. 1550; d Breslau, before 9 Nov 1598). Silesian painter, active in Poland and Bohemia. He completed his apprenticeship in Germany between 1580 and 1583, after which he worked in Kraków. His portraits of King Stefan Batory (e.g. monogrammed example, 1583; Kraków, Monastery of the Missionary Fathers) belong to the Renaissance type of state portrait executed in a flat and linear manner characteristic of central European art. From around 1586 to 1590 Kober worked in Breslau and Prague, having received a letter from Emperor Rudolf II that made him independent of the Breslau guild. From 1590 he worked in Kraków and Warsaw as a royal court painter. His portraits of King Sigismund III Vasa (1591: Kraków, Wawel Castle; after 1591: Vienna, Ksthist. Mus.) and his wife Anne of Austria (1595; Munich, Alte Pin.) reveal that under the influence of the Rudolfine painters Kober developed a subtle use of flesh tints and of subdued hues and exquisite gestures. His most outstanding work is his portrait of Anna Jagiellonka (1595; Kraków, Wawel Castle; autograph copies in Kraków Cathedral, and Warsaw, Royal Castle), in which he captured the psychological traits of his sitter. This expressiveness is also apparent in his portraits of the royal children. Kober's works, which were imitated by both contemporary and later painters, including his pupil Marcin Teofilowicz (fl 1600) and his brother, Wacław Kober, and reproduced by engravers such as Domenicus Custos (1550–1612), Thomas Treter (1547–1610), Georg Hayer (1559–1614) and Jerome Wierix, established a formula for portraits of Polish monarchs of the late 16th century.

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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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