Master of Petrarch

(fl. c. 1515—1522)

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(fl Augsburg, c. 1515–c. 1522). German woodcut designer. He is named from his most famous work, the woodcuts illustrating the German edition of Petrarch's De remediis utriusque fortunae. Those for the first part were completed in 1519, those for the second in 1520. They were produced for the Augsburg publishers Sigismund Grimm (fl 1496; dbefore 1532) and Marx Wirsung (fl 1518–23). The woodcuts did not appear until 1532, when they were published in two volumes under the title Von der Artzney bayder Glück, des guten vnd widerwertigen, by Heinrich Steyner (fl 1522; d 1548) of Augsburg. Also known as the Glücksbuch or Trostspiegel, this was an extremely popular work that came out in many editions; the last was published by Vincentius Steinmeyer (fl 1608) in 1620 (Frankfurt am Main). Its popularity was due mainly to the lively and witty illustrations, which constitute one of the most important visual sources for the cultural history of 16th-century Germany. Their topicality, at the time of the Reformation and Peasant Wars, is especially pungent and has led to interpretation in sociological or political (often Marxist) terms. For later artists they provided a rich pictorial source, as attested by the numerous copies by Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640). It has been argued that the visual conception of the book was due to Sebastian Brant (1458–1521) who, in the introduction to vol. I, is credited with the role of pictorial adviser: since the translation of Petrarch's original into German was not completed until 1621, so that the artist did not have the full German text before him, and since it is unlikely that the artist knew Latin, Brant would have had an important role as an adviser.


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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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