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date: 23 August 2019

Baldung [Grien], Hanslocked

(b ?Schwäbisch Gmünd, 1484 or 1485; d Strassburg [now Strasbourg, France], 1545).
  • Christiane Andersson

Extract

(b ?Schwäbisch Gmünd, 1484 or 1485; d Strassburg [now Strasbourg, France], 1545).

German painter, printmaker, draughtsman and stained-glass designer. Such contemporaries as Jean Pélerin (De artificiali perspectiva, 1521) and the Alsatian humanist Beatus Rhenanus in 1526 counted him among the greatest artists of his time. In the opinion of specialists today, Baldung’s work places him only half a step behind Grünewald, Dürer and Hans Holbein the younger. A prodigious and imaginative artist of great originality, versatility and passion, Baldung was fascinated with witchcraft and superstition and possessed a desire for novelty of subjects and interpretation that sometimes borders on the eccentric. The new themes he introduced include the supernatural and the erotic. He was the first to show the erotic nature of the Fall in his chiaroscuro woodcut of Adam and Eve (1511; Hollstein, no. 3) and illustrated the successive stages of mating behaviour of horses in his woodcut series of Wild Horses in the forest (1534; Hollstein, nos 238–40); and he is remembered especially for his images of witches. Dürer influenced him only in an early stage but not lastingly. Baldung had a very different sensibility and lacked Dürer’s sense of decorum. Grünewald, whose monumental ...

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F. W. H. Hollstein: German Engravings, Etchings and Woodcuts, c. 1400–1700 (Amsterdam, 1954–)