Hans Burgkmair Biography

Hans Burgkmair




Hans Burgkmair was born in Augsburg, the son of painter Thomas Burgkmair. In 1488 he became a pupil of Martin Schongauer in Colmar, and from 1491 he worked in Augsburg, where he earned a reputation as a master and opened his own workshop in 1498.

Hollstein ascribes 843 woodcuts to him, mostly for book illustrations, with approximately one hundred single-leaf prints. From about 1508 he spent much of his time working on the woodcut projects of Maxmillian I, until the Emperor's death in 1519. He was responsible for nearly half of the 135 prints in the Triumphs of Maxmilian, which are large and full of character. He worked closely with the leading blockcutter Jost de Negker, who became in effect his publisher. 

He was an important innovator of the chiaroscuro woodcut, and seems to have been the first to use a tone block. His Lovers Surprised by Death (1510) is the fist such print to use three blocks. He was also a successful painter, mainly of religious scene 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, crefully and solidly finished. His portraits suit modern taste better than his religious works. Burgkmair died at Augsburg in 1531.