Hans Besser

(d. 1558)

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(b Aachen; d after 1558). German painter. He was recognized as a separate artist by Hans Buchheit, and Rott convincingly identified him as the Hans Besser mentioned in documents; the surviving works, all portraits, date from 1538 to 1549. Although none of the portraits bears a signature, two engravings are signed ‘HPesser’ (see Hollstein). Exiled from Cologne in 1537 as an Anabaptist, Besser was granted citizenship in Speyer after a successful ‘purification’. There in 1538–40 he painted murals in the cathedral cloister (destr.). As court painter to Elector Frederick II the Wise (reg 1544–56) in Heidelberg, he was known as ‘Hans of Cologne’. In 1553 King Ferdinand of Bohemia (later Emperor Ferdinand I) planned to entrust him with the execution of a high altar retable in the court chapel at Innsbruck. The last reference to him is in 1558.


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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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