Back to top

Wolfgang Beurer

Painter, draughtsman, copperplate engraver, commercial artist and stained-glass painter

2 Works by Wolfgang Beurer

Biography

Two pairs of engravings, striking for their extraordinarily individualised depictions of the subjects portrayed, are signed with the monogram 'WB' (with a staff between the letters, entwined by a backwards 'S'). They each picture an older man and a younger woman so realistically that one might consider them portraits, but it is more likely that they are idealised portrayals in the iconographic tradition of the unlikely couple. Ernst Buchner has attributed to their creator an extensive oeuvre of woodcuts, drawings, panel paintings and glass paintings; at least in its essentials, this has been shown to be tenable. The chief painterly works of the master WB are the eight panels on the legend of St Sebastian in the Bischöfliches Dom- und Diözesanmuseum in Mainz. Aside from the Frankfurt portrait pair, the 'Portrait of a Man' in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection in Madrid documents the fact that the master was also sought after as a portraitist.

Fedja Anzelewsky recently recognised his hand in an equestrian drawing in Danzig's National Museum that came from the collection of Albrecht Dürer, for in Dürer's handwriting is inscribed at the bottom: "Dz hat wofgang [sic] pewrer gemacht/im 1484 Ior" (Wolfgang Peurer made this in the year 1484). Since 'Peurer' and 'Beurer' sound the same in the Bavarian dialect Dürer spoke, the monogram 'WB' can be deciphered as 'Wolfgang Beurer'. Thus the master WB can be considered the creator of the Danzig drawing.

Aside from the inscription, the Thyssen portrait provides another clue to the dating: it bears the date 1487 on the original frame. Clues to its place of origin are provided by the Sebastian cycle, probably from Mainz, a window in the Church of Our Lady in Hanau and a prayer book in London designed for the Worms service. Thus Wolfgang Beurer appears to have been active along the Middle Rhine from the 1480s to close to 1500.