German painter, engraver, architect and graphic artist, Albrecht Altdorfer was born c. 1480 in Regensburg. He was the leading artist of the so- called “Danube School” of German painting. His most well known works are of Biblical and historical subjects set against highly imaginative and atmospheric backgrounds.
Altdorfer was made a citizen of Regensburg in 1505 and he purchased a house there in 1513. Subsequent homes were purchased in 1518 and 1532. He also owned a number of vineyards.
There is no record of Altdorfer’s early education or travels, but it is thought that his father was painter and miniaturist, Ulrich Altdorfer. Altdorfer’s first signed and dated drawings and engravings appeared in 1506 and were followed by several small paintings in 1507. He began producing woodcuts in 1511. His woodcuts show influence by Cranach, Dürer and Mantegna. Among his prints are a series of 9 etched landscapes and a set of 40 engravings collectively called “The Fall and Redemption of Man”.
Around 1513, Altdorfer began working for Maximilian I, participating in group projects such as the drawings of Maximilian’s Prayer Book, the woodcuts of the Triumphal Portal and the woodcuts of the Triumphal Procession.
Altdorfer moved towards Mannerism in his later works and he was a great pioneer of copper etching. The scope of Altdorfer’s existing work contains some 55 panels, 120 drawings, 125 woodcuts, 78 engravings, 36 etchings, 24 paintings on parchment and fragments from a mural for the bathhouse of the Kaiserhof in Regensburg.