Narcissus Renner


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(b ?Augsburg, 1502; dafter 1535). German painter. The year of his birth is provided by portrait medallions of him, by Christof Weiditz I (1527; Munich, Staatl. Munzsamml.) and Friedrich Hagenauer (1530; Munich, Staatl. Munzsamml.). Early in his career Renner produced the Portrait of a Boy (1517; Nuremberg, Ger. Nmus.), a small-format painting in gouache of which the subject, referred to as ‘vs’, may have been a member of the Augsburg family Schwarz. From 1520 to 1536 Renner worked for Matthäus Schwarz (1497–1574), the chief bookkeeper of the trading firm of Fugger, for whose gradually expanded Trachtenbuch (from 1520; Brunswick, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Mus.) he painted the majority of the 137 miniatures. Because of the timespan of this work, it is possible to trace the development of Renner's style. In the pictures, which are characterized by a sober rendering of clothing, spatial composition is secondary, and the figure composition follows a set pattern derived from the standing motif of Dürer's figure of proportion. Renner attempted to avoid monotony by changing the background and staffage figures. The depiction of an Augsburg garden party (‘Geschlechtertanz’) is signed ‘opus nr’ and must have been made around 1522. In the watercolour the illuminator used numerous details that derive from other artists’ work, composing a historical group portrait, in which various personalities from various periods are joined. In a prayerbook (1521; Berlin, Kupferstichkab.) for Matthäus Schwarz, the miniatures are characterized by a skilful utilization of unusual subjects, depictions of pagan legends of gods and heroes, presented in small-scale reliefs and plaquettes. Motifs from works by Dürer are to be found, as well as borrowings from Albrecht Altdorfer and Hans Burgkmair. In another prayerbook (1523; Vienna, Österreich. Nbib.) Altdorfer's influence is noticeably stronger, and the landscape of the Danube school was a crucial factor in picture construction. In the last years of his life, Renner designed ornaments for sewing and embroidery pattern books, for example Egenhoff's Modelbuch aller Art Nehewercks und Stickens (Frankfurt am Main, 1533).

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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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