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Hans Niesenberger, the elder

(c. 1415—1420)


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(b ?Graz, c. 1415–20; d Freiburg im Breisgau or Basle, before 26 June 1493). Austrian architect. The Ordinance produced at the meeting of stone masons in Regensburg in 1459 mentions him in the penultimate place in the list of masters as ‘Hannss von Gratz, meister inn der Weyssenauw’ (the Premonstratensian abbey of Weissenau, Upper Swabia). He probably gained his first experience from 1438 at the cathedral works in Graz. His life was full of unrest and professional mishaps. He took over as Master of the Works on the choir of Freiburg im Breisgau Cathedral in 1471 and after 1478 owned a house there. His appointment as principal engineer of the cathedral works in Milan from 1483 to 1486 required a period of residence in Italy. The excellent terms of his employment there included an annual wage of 180 golden guilders and a vacation of 2½ months. On 9 September 1486, after sudden dismissal from Milan for faulty work, he, his wife Elsa and his sons Thomas and Hans acquired citizenship of Lucerne in Switzerland. From 1489, though frequently under contract in Freiburg, he was a member of the ‘Spinnwetternzunft’ in Basle. From 1474 to 1491 he was frequently in litigation in Freiburg and Basle. With his temporary arrest and dismissal from Freiburg in 1491, again for faulty work, he descended into obscurity, his decline accompanied by a series of injurious complaints and ugly rumours from his co-workers.

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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.



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