Painter, draughtsman, commercial artist, master builder, architect, copperplate engraver and politician
Albrecht Altdorfer's origins are uncertain. It is suspected that he was a son of Regensburg miniaturist Ulrich Altdorfer, who became a Regensburg citizen in 1478 but left the city again in 1491. In 1505 Albrecht Altdorfer attained Regensburg citizenship as well, identified as a 'painter from Amberg'. His first signed drawings and engravings, similar in subject matter to those of Albrecht Dürer, are from 1506. Beginning in 1511 he provided preliminary drawings for the woodcuts of the 'Triumphal Procession' and 'Triumphal Arch' of Maximilian I, and in 1515 began working on the marginal drawings for the emperor's prayer book. In 1517 he began his municipal career as a member of the Outer Council, later of the Inner Council as well. As a councillor he was involved in the banishment of Jews from Regensburg in 1519; as a respected painter, he shortly afterwards produced various paintings for the pilgrimage church Schöne Maria, established in place of the destroyed synagogue that Altdorfer had depicted in two engravings in 1519. He moreover worked for the city of Regensburg as an architect and designer of fortifications. In 1528 Altdorfer declined his election to mayor in order to keep working on his 'Battle of Alexander at Issus' (Munich, Alte Pinakothek) - doubtless the most famous of his numerous panel paintings. Altdorfer was the first German Renaissance artist to make the 'imaginary landscape' his personal subject matter; he also used his landscape depictions as expressive elements for both secular and sacred subjects. Along with the painter Wolf Huber and the sculptors Hans Leinberger and the "Master IP", he is considered one of the most important representatives of the so-called 'Danube School'.