* 1430 Colmar
† 1491 Breisach
The German painter Martin Schongauer was born in Colmar around 1450 as the son of a goldsmith. It is difficult, however, to find clear proof for the exact dates of his life. He works as a painter and engraver, his contemporaries call Martin Schongauer "hibsch Martin" or "Martin schoen". Little is know about his panel paintings, except for the painting "Madonna im Rosenhag" (Madonna on the Rose Hill) from 1473, which can definitely be ascribed to Schongauer and is in possession of the Dominican church in Colmar today. A mural showing a depiction of the Last Judgement was discovered on the inner Western wall of the Breisach cathedral in 1931, presumably executed by Martin Schongauer and members of his workshop.
As an engraver Martin Schongauer made groundbreaking works, which had major influence on later artists, for instance on Albrecht Dürer. 116 signed sheets are still in existence today, however, their temporal succession remains obscure. Schongauer contributes to the art of engraving by refining the techniques, he finds his way to a new and clear use of images for the Christian subjects.
Some 50 sheets with drawings are ascribed to Martin Schongauer as well, they can be found in museums all over Europe.
It can be presumed that Martin Schongauer went to the Netherlands as a travelling journeyman, because of his picture's similarity with the old Dutch masters. Perhaps he even was a student of Rogier van der Weyden.
After 1470 Martin Schongauer settles in Colmar, proof thereof can be found in numerous sources, where he works the last years of his life, presumably from 1489 to around 1491, on murals in the Breisach cathedral.