Joseph Heintz d.Ä.
* 1564 Basel
† 1609 Prag
Joseph Heintz the Elder, born in Basle in 1564, is regarded the most important representative of Northern Alpine mannerist painting.
Joseph Heintz the Elder presumably received his first training in architecture from his father Daniel Heintz the Elder; his training in the art of painting, however, he received in the studio of Hans Bock the Elder in Basle. Between 1584 and 1589/90 Joseph Heintz the Elder traveled Italy and came in contact with painters from north of the Alps in Rome. Antiquity and the master pieces of Renaissance art impressed the young Joseph Heintz the Elder very much, as works from this period deliver proof of. In 1587 Joseph Heintz the Elder continued his journey to Florence and eventually to Venice, where works by Titian, Tintoretto or Paolo Veronese had no lesser influence for his creation.
In 1591 Joseph Heintz the Elder followed the call of Emperor Rudolph II. To the court in Prague, where he was active as portray painter. From those days on Joseph Heintz the Elder, who was given peerage in 1602, lived in both Prague and Italy, because he received the commission from the emperor to execute drawings after ancient models and to select works for the emperor's art collection as well as to prepare their acquisition. Time and again Joseph Heintz the Elder also stayed in Augsburg, where he met his future wife. Their marriage in 1598 granted him Augsburg civil rights.
As a painter Joseph Heintz the Elder did not only make portraits, but also religious scenes and erotic mythological pictures that followed the taste of the Prague court. He developed a strong personal style characterized by sleek and emotional-sensual figures executed in a tenebrous yet powerful palette. The human figure was in the center of his interests. The imageries of Joseph Heintz the Elder were also spread through re-engravings, additionally, later generations applied them in works in ivory, enamel, gold or silver. Joseph Heintz the Elder also left behind a remarkable body of high-quality hand drawings, at a late point in his life he was also active as architect in both Prague and Augsburg.
In 1609 Joseph Heintz the Elder died in Prague.