Early works by Niklaus Manuel Deutsch, the son of an apothecary from the Piedmont, are known beginning in 1507. He probably trained as a stained-glass painter, but subsequently, without further training, worked in the most varied artistic fields. In 1509 he married Katharina Frisching, the daughter of a city councilman in Bern. In 1510 he was elected to that city's Great Council. From 1516 to 1522, he took part as a Bernese mercenary in the Habsburg campaigns against France in northern Italy. At that time, he met Urs Graf. In 1518-1520 he worked on the wings of the 'St Anne Altar' in Bern's Dominican Church and the depiction of the Dance of Death on the facade of the Franciscan Church, for which he composed his own verses. After 1520 his artistic activity was supplanted by his efforts as writer and politician on behalf of the Reformation. In 1523 he became the bailiff of Erlach. Niklaus Manuel Deutsch, the Basel native Urs Graf, and Hans Leu from Zurich are considered the most important Swiss artists from the early Reformation period. In addition to religious and mythological subjects, his draughtsmanly oeuvre is dominated by depictions of female figures, especially witches.