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Collective term for anonymous artists who have not been identified with a documented, named individual, but are known by the initials of the monograms that appear on their work.

Monogrammist AC. See Claeszoon, allaert.Master A.W. (fl 1525–46). German draughtsman and woodcutter. His monogram formerly led to confusion between him and Anton Woensam. In the plates from his main work, Luthers Kirchenpostille, originally published (Wittenberg, 1528) by Hans Lufft (1495–1584), subsequently in a new edition (Wittenberg, 1530) by Georg Rhau (1488–1548), he showed great versatility in his way of looking at and depicting things. In the calligraphic manner of some of the woodcuts he followed the stylistic characteristics of Georg Lemberger; in others he displayed a broad, painterly, large-scale approach. Again in the 3 pictures of St Paul with Emissaries and 21 illustrations of the Apocalypse in the edition of Luther's New Testament (Wittenberg, 1529) printed by Hans Lufft, Master A.W. showed his debt to Lemberger, copying works by him, some the same way round, some reversed, with only minor changes in the detail. Other important series include illustrations of the Ten Commandments, Three Articles of Faith and Lord's Prayer for Luther's catechism (Wittenberg, 1532); 13 illustrations of the Articles of Faith and Sacraments; and a series of 37 illustrations for Luther's New Testament (Erfurt, 1535) printed by Melchior Sachse. Fourteen illustrations for the Old Testament (Leipzig, 1541), which complete a sequence by Lucas Cranach II, were probably the last series. Many title borders have been attributed to Master A.W. Monogrammist BB [Master of the Augsburg Portraits of Painters] (fl 1502–15). German draughtsman and painter. Twenty portrait drawings (1502–15) and an oil portrait (1505) are connected by the monogram bb, perhaps denoting Barthel Beham, added at a considerably later date. The majority of the subjects (twelve, Berlin, Kupferstichkab.; two, Hamburg, Ksthalle; one, Weimar, Schlossmus.; four, Gdańsk, N. Mus.; one, Copenhagen, Stat. Mus. Kst) are artists and their apprentices, fourteen named and their place of origin noted. Since some of the subjects have been identified as Augsburg figures, it has been supposed that the series was commissioned or preserved by the Augsburg guild of painters. In comparison with portrait studies by Hans Holbein I (see Holbein, (1)), these portraits, all reflecting the impact of the Renaissance, display a stylistic approach and diversity indicating one or more artists of the younger generation. Definite ascription has not proved possible; the greater number are stylistically congruous and resemble the work of Leonhard Beck (see Beck, (2)), to whom the whole series has been ascribed (Winkler). The oil painting, however, is clearly by a lesser hand. Master B. G. At least two German engravers used this monogram. Nagler identified one monogrammist active in the 15th century (n 2079) and a second in the 16th (n 1850, fl c. 1589). The earlier artist was formerly mistakenly identified as Barthel Schongauer but was probably Berthold Gobel (b 1467), a goldsmith of Frankfurt am Main, who became a citizen in 1495 and was documented there in 1499. This identification, first proposed by Geisberg, was based on an engraving (1490s) with the coat of arms of the Rohrbach-Holzhausen family. Close to fifty engravings by the master are known (see Bartsch, Evans, Passavant, and Lehrs) including seven separate copies after compositions of Martin Schongauer's engraved Passion cycle in a technique very close to his. The later master, now throught to have been active earlier (fl c. 1561), has been tentatively identified as Georg Balk; the identification as Georg Brentel (fl Lauingen, c. 1603) is not generally accepted. Only two engravings by him are recorded: the Martyrdom of St Catherine, a copy after Albrecht Dürer's composition (b. 120), and Coat of Arms with the Symbols of the Passion (1561; Nuremberg, Ger. Nmus.), with the monogram B. G. in the lower left corner. Master (fl ?Frankfurt am Main, c. 1470–90). German engraver. The 45 prints attributed to this engraver, the majority signed with the monogram, include five copies after prints by Martin Schongauer and seven after prints by the Housebook Master. It is assumed that practically all the others are based on lost works by the latter. The subject-matter of these prints is almost exclusively secular and includes courtly lovers and satirical scenes with peasants. In style and content they are very close to the drypoints of the Housebook Master, although the images are more stereotyped and the manner of engraving is rather dry. Prints such as one with the coats of arms of the Rohrbach and Holzhausen families from Frankfurt (c. 1480) were probably designed by the monogrammist himself, and it can be assumed from this that he worked in Frankfurt am Main. The suggested identification with the Frankfurt goldsmith Bartholomeus Gobel, about whom nothing is known, requires further examination. Master (fl ?Lower Rhine, c. 1480–90). German engraver. The initials B and R, with a trademark in the form of an anchor between them, are found on 17 rare engravings. They comprise both religious subjects (influenced by Martin Schongauer) and secular, for example satires on rustic life (Lehrs, 1927, nos 11–12). The Master's best-known engraving is the Chess-game between Death and the King (l 16), an allegory on the transience of the human condition. His portrait of Emperor Frederick III (l 17), of which only one example survives, is thought to be the earliest engraved portrait of a ruler. Brunswick Monogrammist (flsecond quarter of the 16th century). Flemish painter. He was active in Antwerp and is named after the Feeding of the Poor (Brunswick, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Mus.), which is signed with a monogram found only on this panel and apparently composed of the interlocked letters J, v, a, m, s and l. His identity has been greatly disputed. Some consider his works as youthful paintings by Jan van Hemessen (Eisenmann, Graefe, Puyvelde and Friedländer), but most recent scholars have linked him with jan van Amstel (Hoogewerff, Genaille, Faggin, Schubert and Wallen). Bergmans has suggested the name of Meyken Verhulst (d 1600), wife of Pieter Coecke van Aelst, and restricts the oeuvre to four paintings.


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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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