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Hans Baldung Grien - German Artist From Art History

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Historical Artist - Hans Baldung Grien (1484 - 1545)

Hans Baldung Grien first studied in Strasbourg at the turn of the 15th century. He then worked in Albrect Durer’s workshop from 1503 to 1507 and was nicknamed “Grien” after his favorite color, green. In 1509, Baldung moved to Strasbourg and was a successful and prominent property owner. He then traveled to Freiberg in Breslau and painted the eleven-panel altarpiece that remains in their cathedral. Baldung’s work often incorporated supernatural and erotic subject matter, a concept that influenced many later German artists. At the end of his life and career, he focused on religious subjects, primarily dealing with the Reformation and its censorship of the arts.

He was extremely interested in witches and made many images of them in different media, including several very beautiful drawings finished with bodycolour, which are more erotic than his treatments in other techniques.

Without absolute correctness as a draughtsman, his conception of human form is often very unpleasant, whilst a questionable taste is shown in ornament equally profuse and baroque. Nothing is more remarkable in his pictures than the pug-like shape of the faces, unless we except the coarseness of the extremities. No trace is apparent of any feeling for atmosphere or light and shade.

As a portrait painter he is well known. He drew the likeness of Charles V, as well as that of Maximilian; and his bust of Margrave Philip in the Munich Gallery tells us that he was connected with the reigning family of Baden, as early as 1514. At a later period he had sittings from Margrave Christopher of Baden, Ottilia his wife, and all their children, and the picture containing these portraits is still in the grand-ducal gallery at Karlsruhe.

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