Bio: Albrecht Altdorfer

Special thanks to the Microsoft Corporation for permission to use following biographical information from Microsoft® Encarta '97:

Albrecht Altdorfer, a German painter, architect, and engraver, is considered to have been the first landscape painter in Western art. Although his birthplace is unknown, Altdorfer spent most of his life in Regensburg, Germany, as city architect and life member of the city council.

Altdorfer is important to the history of painting as a leading master of the group of 16th-century German artists known as the Danube school. His pictures are characterized by an evocative imagination, ranging from the playful to the grandiose and from the picturesque to the fantastic. One of his best works is the altarpiece (1518) in the monastery of Saint Florian in Enns, Austria, in which he used a number of night scenes, unusual for that time. In his huge painting called Battle of Alexander and Darius on the Issus (1529), thousands of tiny figures in a wild, craggy landscape are seen from high in the air against a fiery sunset. This painting and a number of his other major works, such as the exquisite small painting St. George in a Landscape (1510), are in Munich's Alte Pinakothek. Paintings by Altdorfer in the Berlin Museum include Rest on the Flight to Egypt (1510), Beggary Sitting on the Train of Pride (1531), and Nativity (1512).

Altdorfer's skill as a graphic artist entitles him to a place among the so-called Little Masters, a group of 16th-century German engravers noted for their expert execution of designs on a small scale. His graphic style was influenced by the German painter and engraver Albrecht Durer. Altdorfer's prints include an outstanding series of 9 etched landscapes and a set of 40 engravings collectively called The Fall and Redemption of Man.

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