Hans Baldung, Germany
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Hans Baldung BiographyGerman Northern Renaissance painter, printmaker, bookmaker, graphic designer & stained glass artist
born 1484 - died 1545
Also known as: Hans Baldung Grien, Hans Baldung Grien, Hans Baldung Grun.
Student of: Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528).
Collaborated with: Hans Weiditz, I (1475-1516).
Baldung Grien, Hans (b.
1484-85, Schwäbisch-Gmünd, Württemberg (now
Germany); d. 1545, Imperial Free City of
Strasbourg (now France)). German painter and
graphic artist. Hans Baldung probably trained with
Dürer in Nuremberg, but his brilliant color,
expressive use of distortion, and taste for
the gruesome bring him closer in spirit to
great German contemporary, Grünewald.
|Most characteristic Hans Baldung paintings are fairly small in scale; a series of puzzling, often erotic allegories and mythological paintings, exemplified by Death Kissing a Maiden (1517, Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel) involve the motif of a female girl body threatened by a grotesque skeleton, a subject Hans Baldung treated several times. In The Three Ages of Woman and Death (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, c. 1510), the beauty of the human body is confronted with the appalling image of Death, represented as a cadaver similar to the allegory of the Vanitas, inspired by the Middle-Ages macabre dances.|
It's one of the few monumental retables that
is still kept in place today at the original
location. The layout and light effects are
inspired by Grünewald, who paintings at Isenheim
at the same period. The same expressions can
be found in the Christ Lamentation (Berlin),
painted around 1516. Around 1514-15 Hans
painted for Freiburg's cathedral two panels
of the Schnewlin retable: The Baptism of Christ and Saint John on Patmos
The altarpiece was not completed until 1516 and Baldung returned to Strasbourg early in 1517 where, as far as we know, Baldung remained for the rest of his life. From the 1520's onward the pictorial and psychological content of Hans Baldung painting becomes increasingly mannered, reflecting in part exposure to Italian art. his style developed Mannerist features: clashing colors and sinuous line combined with naturalistic detail. The 1516 Déluge (Flood) (Bamberg) reveals already this duality, with a very animated composition and dissonant colors.
Toward the end of his life, Hans Baldung increasingly represented secular subjects, reflecting the Reformation's constraints on religious art. Although Baldung continued to produce religious subjects for private patrons, he increasingly painted portraits or scenes from ancient legends, mythology and history, such as Pyramus and Thisbe (Berlin, 1530), Hercules and Antaeus (Breslau, 1530-31), Mucius Scaevola (Dresden, 1531). Such German paintings illustrate the transition from Renaissance to Mannerism.
This mannerist spirit is highlighted and accentuated in the German paintings produced during the last 20 years of his life in Strasbourg. Figures now have complex attitudes and abandonned the human body classical proportions learnt from Albrecht Dürer. Some of Hans Baldung paintings resemble those of Cranach the Elder. Mannerist tendencies are also visible in religious artworks. his multiple Virgin with Child (Nürnberg, Berlin, Strasbourg) reveal the influence of Jan Gossaert (c.1487-c.1536) and of 15th century Gothic painting.
Throughout his life Baldung painted numerous portraits, known for their sharp characterizations. While Dürer rigorously details his models, his style differs by focusing more on the personality of the represented character, an abstract conception of the model's state of mind.
Portrait of a Lady
At the time of his death in September, 1545, Hans Baldung was a member of the city council of Strasbourg and one of that city's richest citizens. his artistic estate went to Nicolaus Kremer, who was probably a pupil.
Grien was Dürer's most inventive and
talented disciple, who nonetheless achieved
a distinctive style. Hans Baldung painting was
expressionistic, imaginative and vividly
colorful. his output was varied
and extensive, including religious paintings,
allegories and mythologies, portraits,
designs for stained glass and tapestries,
and a large body of graphic painting,
particularly book illustrations. his
oeuvre consists of approximately 90
German paintings and altarpieces, about 350
drawings and 180 woodcuts and book
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