Erhard Schön

(b. c. 1491)

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(b Nuremberg, c. 1491; d Nuremberg, between 14 Sep and 13 Dec 1542). German woodcut designer and painter. He was the son of Marx Schön III (fl 1477; d 1510/11), a minor Nuremberg painter, with whom he probably began his training. Some 1200 illustrations for 116 books and about 200 separate woodcuts have been attributed to Schön (Röttinger, Strauss). While questions of attribution and uneven quality still need to be resolved, it is clear that his works enjoyed tremendous popularity. Between 1513 and c. 1524 the majority of his woodcuts illustrated religious books. His first known, though unsigned, work was the title-page of De spirituali vinea (Nuremberg, 1513; b. 2[a]), a book published by Johann Stüchs; it showed members of the clergy and laity harvesting grapes. Of much finer quality are the woodcuts that he and Hans Springinklee made for the Hortulus animae (Nuremberg, 1515, b. 7, series A–D), published by Johannes Koberger. It was one of the most popular pre-Reformation anthologies of prayers; between 1516 and 1522 it was published in at least 20 German and Latin editions using Schön and Springinklee's woodcuts. Springinklee had lived in Albrecht Dürer's house for several years and, although Schön seems not to have been a member of Dürer's workshop, he learnt from his collaborator and studied the master's prints. His attention to modelling his holy figures and to placing them convincingly in space was due to Dürer's influence, and in a few instances he merely replicated Dürer's compositions. His association with Dürer may also have extended to his contributing a few woodcuts to Dürer's Triumphal Arch of Emperor Maximilian I (1515) and Theuerdank (1517). Shortly after Dürer's death (1528), Schön prepared a woodcut portrait of the artist based on a medal (1527) by matthes Gebel; this was one of several likenesses of famous people that he published for the popular market.


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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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