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Hans Baldung Grien (1484 - 1545)

Related: German art - Northern Renaissance - 1500s - personifications of death - fantastic art

Contemporaries: Hans Holbein - Hieronymus Bosch - Quentin Matsys - Matthias Grünewald - Albrecht Dürer - Lucas Cranach

Three Ages of Man and Three Graces (1539) - Hans Baldung Grien
Image sourced here.

On the three graces: "Who it was who first represented the Graces naked, whether in sculpture or in painting, I could not discover. During the earlier period, certainly, sculptors and painters alike represented them draped. [...] But later artists, I do not know the reason, have changed the way of portraying them. Certainly to-day sculptors and painters represent Graces naked." --Pausanias via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charites [Jul 2006]

Death and Woman (1517) - Hans Baldung Grien

Three Ages of the Woman and the Death (1510) Hans Baldung Grien (1484 - 1545)
image sourced here. [Mar 2005]

Death and the maiden () Hans Baldung Grien
image sourced here.

The 7 Ages of Woman - Hans Baldung Grien (1484-1545)


Hans Baldung or Hans Baldung Grien/Grün (c. 1480 - 1545). German (Alsatian) Renaissance artist. He was considered the most gifted student of Albrecht Dürer. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Baldung [Jan 2005]

History of Grien's critical reception

Despite my liking of Grien and the other artists of the Northern Renaissance, these artists have not always been received favourably. Take for example this quote from the 1911 EB.

"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. Though Grien has been commonly called the Correggio of the north, his compositions are a curious medley of glaring and heterogeneous colours, in which pure black is contrasted with pale yellow, dirty grey, impure red and glowing green. Flesh is a mere glaze under which the features are indicated by lines."

This ends in a slightly gentler tone:

"His works are mainly interesting because of the wild and fantastic strength which some of them display."

So what is the history of the critical reception of the Northern Renaissance? Dennis Crockett's German Post-Expressionism (1999) mentions that: "In 1921, [Otto] Dix began to turn his attention to the German masters of the sixteenth century" and that "Baldung-Grien was among the old German masters just being rediscovered by German art historians in the early twentieth century."

Who were these art historians that praised the German master for the first time? What do the monographs of Otto Fischer and Hans Curjel say? [Jul 2006]

See also: Hans Baldung Grien - beauty - 1500s

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