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German family of sculptors. They were among the most important and productive families of sculptors in southern Germany in the 17th century. Hans Zürn the elder (1555/60–after 1631) had six sons, all of whom became sculptors. No documented work of his has survived, but on the basis of his presumed contribution to the high altar in Überlingen Minster (see (1) below), an attractive Crucifix (Wangen, Kapelle am Isnyer Tor) and a bust of St Jacob (Nuremberg, Ger. Nmus.) have been attributed to him. These wooden figures, with their slender, elongated bodies and gaunt, introspective faces, have a precious yet frail quality when compared with the work of his sons, with whom he frequently collaborated. The most prominent of these, all of whom started their careers in the Bodensee region, was (1) Jörg Zürn of Überlingen, whose masterpiece was the five-storey Mannerist high altar in Überlingen Minster. Hans Zürn the younger (1585/90–after 1624) is recorded as a master sculptor in Buchhorn am Bodensee (now Friedrichshafen) in 1613; his only securely attributed work is the wooden altar of the Virgin in St Martin, Wangen, though Zoege von Manteuffel has attributed 12 other projects, mostly single figures, to him. (2) Martin Zürn and his younger brothers, Michael (fl 1617–51), Hans Jakob (fl 1617–35) and David (1598–1666), settled in the Inn Valley in eastern Bavaria and Upper Austria and are chiefly known for the altars they carved for many of the churches of that region. The third and fourth generations of the Zürn family, the sons and grandsons of David Zürn, continued to be active in Wasserburg am Inn, Passau and Olomouc in Moravia into the early 18th century.


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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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