* 1534 Mecheln
† 1593 Amsterdam
The miniature painter and hand drawer Hans Bol, one of the most important figures of Dutch Mannerism, was born at Mecheln in 1534.
Hans Bol served an apprenticeship in his native town. It presumably were his two uncles Jacob and Johannes Bol who taught the young Hans Bol the technique of watercolor painting on canvas, as it was widely spread in Mecheln. Hans Bol crowned his period of training with a two-year stay in Heidelberg.
At the age of 17 Hans Bol returned to his hometown. The young painter soon gained a good reputation for his landscape watercolors, and he was accepted into the local painters’ gild in 1560. However, today there is only one watercolor by Hans Bol from his Mecheln days in existence. Hand drawings as well as re-engravings of his landscape were already made at that point.
When the Spanish invaded in 1572, Hans Bol fled to Antwerp. At first the painter did not have sufficient financial means and found support from Karel Van Mander. But Hans Bol soon became established in foreign lands. In 1574 he was accepted into the Antwerp gild, in 1575 he was give civil rights. In his Antwerp workshop Hans Bol made illustrated manuscripts and albums as well as "Cabinet miniatures", and very charming small landscapes in gouache on vellum. The sheets were mounted o panels and used like paintings.
Once again, Hans Bol was forced to flee because of the war. He left Antwerp in 1584 and went to Amsterdam, where he settled and received civil rights in 1591. In Amsterdam he also made excellent miniature paintings, as well as landscapes and town views.
Works by Hans Bol were popular from an early point on. Artists such as Hieronymus Cock, Matthäus Merian, Crispin de Passe, Adriaen Collaert, Philips Galle, Theodor Galle, Julius Goltzius, Gerard de Jode, Jan Sadeler and Hieronymus Wierix made re-engravings of his art.
Hans Bol died in Amsterdam in 1593.