* 1595 Oldenburg
† 1630 Venedig
Among baroque painters from the German language region Johann Liss doubtlessly occupies one of the front ranks.
Little is known about his life: Johann Liss was born near Oldenburg, in a region north of Lubeck, around 1595 or around 1597. It is assumed that he was born into a family of artists, his father was presumably active for the Dukes of Holstein. Even his mother was a painter, which was quite unusual for this epoch.
It is very likely that the young Johann Liss received first lessons in art from his parents. He spent the year between 1614 and 1619 as a journeyman, visiting, amongst others, the Netherlands. Haarlem, Amsterdam and Antwerp were among the stops during this journey. His early paintings, especially the interior scenes, clearly show the influence the Dutch art had had on the young Johann Liss.
Afterwards Johann Liss went to Paris and onward to Venice (1621), from where he continued his travels to Rome. From 1622 on there is proof for Johann Liss' activities in the Eternal City, where he also joined the "Schildersbent", an association of painters from north of the Alps, which were notorious for their boozy and jolly festivities.
By that time Johann Liss had developed his very strong and expressive personal style that showed Rubens, Domenico Fetti and Caravaggism as sources of influence. The striking paintings by Johann Liss, mostly religious scenes, such as the famous work "Judith Beheading Holofernes ", seem to have anticipated the development of art by many decades.
In the late 1620s Johann Liss returned to the north. He arrived Venice around 1629/30. However, the plague in the city of lagoons killed the young painter.