Hans Burgkmair

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Hans Burgkmair
Lukas Furtenagel 001.jpg
The painter Hans Burgkmair and his wife Anna (painting by Lukas Furtenagel, 1529)
Born 1473
Died 1531 (aged 57–58)
Nationality German
Known for Painting, printmaking, woodcut

Hans Burgkmair the Elder (1473–1531) was a German painter and woodcut printmaker.


Burgkmair was born in Augsburg, the son of painter Thomas Burgkmair and his son, Hans the Younger, became one too.[1] From 1488, he was a pupil of Martin Schongauer in Colmar, who died during his two years there, before Burgkmair completed the normal period of training. He may have visited Italy at this time, and certainly did so in 1507, which greatly influenced his style. From 1491, he was working in Augsburg, where he became a master and opened his own workshop in 1498.

Hollstein ascribes 834 woodcuts to him, mostly for book illustrations, with slightly over a hundred being "single-leaf", that is prints not for books. The best of them show a talent for striking compositions, and a blend, not always fully successful, of Italian Renaissance forms and underlying German style.

From about 1508, he spent much of his time working on the woodcut projects of Maximilian I until the Emperor's death in 1519.[1] He was responsible for nearly half of the 135 prints in the Trumphs of Maximilian, which are large and full of character. He also did most of the illustrations for Weiss Kunig and much of Theurdank. He worked closely with the leading blockcutter Jost de Negker, who became in effect his publisher.[2]

Burgkmair's 1522 colored woodcut of the Coat of arms of the Swabian League, with a flag of St. George. Two putti support a red cross in a white field; the motto: What God has joined let man not separate.

He was an important innovator of the chiaroscuro woodcut, and seems to have been the first to use a tone block, in a print of 1508.[3] His Lovers Surprised by Death (1510) is the first chiaroscuro print to use three blocks,[4] and also the first print that was designed to be printed only in colour, as the line block by itself would not make a satisfactory image. Other chiaroscuro prints from around this date by Baldung and Cranach had line blocks that could be and were printed by themselves.[5] He produced one etching, Venus and Mercury (c1520),[6] etched on a steel plate, but never tried engraving, despite his training with Schongauer.

Burgkmair was also a successful painter, mainly of religious scenes and portraits of Augsburg citizens and members of the Emperor's court. Many examples of his work are in the galleries of Munich, Vienna and elsewhere, carefully and solidly finished.[7] His portraits suit modern taste better than his religious works.

Burgkmair died at Augsburg in 1531.


See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Gietmann 1908.
  2. Landau & Parshall, 212
  3. "Emperor Maximilian on Horseback". Artbma.org.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Lovers Surprised by Death".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[not in citation given]
  5. The Renaissance Print, David Landau & Peter Parshall, Yale, 1996, ISBN 0-300-06883-2
  6. "Hans (the Younger) Burgkmair". Artnet.de.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Chisholm 1911.


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Burgkmair, Hans". Encyclopædia Britannica. 4 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGietmann, Gerhard (1908). "Hans Burckmair". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. 3. New York: Robert Appleton.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links