Albrecht Altdorfer (circa 1480-1538) was a German painter, printmaker and architect of the Renaissance working in Regensburg, of which town he was a citizen from 1505 onwards. A near-contemporary of Albrecht Dürer, he was the leader of the Danube School in southern Germany.

Altdorfer's style always remained personal. Most of his paintings are religious works, but he was one of the first artists to show an interest in landscape as an independent genre. Two pure landscape paintings (without any figures) by him are known. Altodorfer took and developed the landscape style of Lucas Cranach the Elder. He shows the hilly landscape of the Danube valley with thick forests of drooping and crumbling firs and larches hung with moss, and often dramatic coloring from a rising or setting sun. His "Landscape with footbridge" is claimed to be the first pure landscape in oil.

He also made many fine finished drawings, mostly landscapes, in pen and watercolour. His best religious scenes are intense, sometimes verging on the expressionistic, and often depict moments of intimacy between Christ and his mother, or others. He often distorts perspective to subtle effect. His donor figures are often painted completely out of scale with the main scene, as in paintings of the previous centuries. He also painted some portraits. Overall, the total amount of artworks that he made is not large.

Altdorfer was a significant printmaker with numerous engravings and about ninety-three woodcuts. These included some for the Triumphs of Maximilian, where he followed the overall style presumably set by Hans Burgkmair. However most of his best prints are etchings, many of landscapes; in these he was able most easily to use his drawing style. He was one of the most successful early etchers, and was unusual for his generation of German printmakers in doing no book illustrations. He often combined etching and engraving techniques in a single plate, and produced about 122 intaglio prints altogether.

He was a member of the ruling town council in Regensburg for many years, as well as the city architect and worked on improving the city walls. Later he became a Protestant, and helped to steer Regensburg to Lutheranism.

His patrons included the emperor Maximilian and the Duke of Bavaria, for whom he painted the celebrated "Battle of Issus", which formed part of a large series of famous battle-pieces from Classical antiquity. It is his most famous, and certainly one of his best works.


"The Battle of Alexander at Issus" (1529) Limewood panel, 158.4 x 120.3 cm - 62.4 x 47.4 in. Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany.



"Passion/Sebastians altar in piece of Florian Christ in front of Pilatus" (1881) Oil on canvas, 66 x 122 cm - 25 7/8 x 48 in. Private collection.



"Susanna in the Bath and the Stoning of the Elders" (1526) Oil on wood, 74.8 x 61.2 cm - 29.4 x 24.1 in. Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany .



"The Rest on the Flight into Egypt" (1510) Oil on panel. Staatliche Museen, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.



"The Birth of the Virgin" (1525) Pine panel. Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany.



"Landscape with a Footbridge" (circa 1518-20) Oil on vellum and wood, 42.1 x 35.5 cm - 16.6 x 14 in. National Gallery, London, UK.



"Portrait of a Young Woman " Oil on wood. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Lugano-Castagnola, Switzerland.



"Mary with the Child" (1520-25) Oil on wood, 49.4 x 35.5 cm - 19.4 x 14 in. Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary.



"Allegory" (1531) Oil on panel. Staatliche Museen, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.



"The Crucifixion" (circa 1526) Oil on panel. Staatliche Museen, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.

Text source: 'Wikipedia' ( and others.

Related Artists:

Related Terms: Renaissance, Oil Paint, Engraving, Etching, Intaglio.


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