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Hans von Aachen

Biographies
Hans von Aachen

*  1552 Köln
† 1615 Prag


The painter Hans von Aachen counts among the most renowned representatives of Northern Mannerism.
Hans von Aachen was born in Cologne in 1552. He served his apprenticeship in Cologne with E. Jerrigh, a portrait from Flanders, as his master. Still at a young age, Hans von Aachen traveled to Italy, activities in Venice, Rome and Florence between 1574 and 1586 have been documented as well. Following his return to Germany, Hans von Aachen mainly lived and worked in his hometown Cologne as well as in Augsburg and Munich between the years 1588 and 1596. Among his commissioners was the Fugger family from Augsburg and especially the Munich ducal court, where Hans von Aachen also met his wife: the daughter of the famous Orlando di Lasso, chief conductor at the Bavarian ducal court. Shortly after his wedding, Hans von Aachen moved to Prague in 1596, where he was offered the post as court painter. He had been appointed imperial court painter as early as in 1592, and soon after he had relocated he was in the closest circle around Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, who also promoted him to diplomatic service. A title of nobility crowned the career of Hans von Aachen in 1594. After the death of emperor Rudolf II (1612), Hans von Aachen was in the service of Holy Roman Emperor Matthias, for whom he was also active in Vienna. Being a master of "Rudolphine Mannerism", Hans von Aachen combined elements of Italian and Flemish Mannerism and created sophisticated court art. Among them were nobility portraits, but also female nudes and erotic mythological figures. Strong light contrast, exaggerated motion and gestures as well as tendencies of idealization, characterize the Mannerism of Hans von Aachen. The acclaimed artist die in Prague in 1615.