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Barthel Beham

Painter, Copperplate engraver, Commercial artist (male) and Draughtsman

1502 in Nuremberg
1540 in Italy

One Work by Barthel Beham


Barthel Beham was born in 1502, as can be gathered from a portrait medal of him made by Ludwig Neufahrer that is dated 1531 and gives the age of the apparently already famous Nuremberg artist as twenty-nine. Nothing is known about his training, but he was obviously influenced by Albrecht Dürer, and has in fact generally been considered to be Dürer's most important follower. Barthel was probably additionally inspired by his older brother Sebald (1500-1550). Together with the painter Georg Pencz (ca. 1500-1550), the two brothers were taken to court in Nuremberg as the "three godless painters" because of statements against the authorities that contained atheistic notions, and on 26 January 1525 they were banished from the city. Barthel Beham promptly went to Munich, where he first paid taxes in 1528 and lived in the house of the painter Wolfgang Mielich. In the Wittelsbach residence he worked mainly for the dukes Wilhelm IV and Ludwig X. According to Sandrart, the painter died on a study trip to Italy undertaken at the behest of Duke Wilhelm. Barthel Beham's work consists primarily of portraits, for which he was particularly valued in Munich court circles. He also painted occasional religious and allegorical pictures, among them a young woman at her toilet, a copy after Titian. In addition, he created designs for woodcuts, along with countless etchings and engravings mainly devoted to mythological and classical themes, which were still relatively new subjects in Germany.

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