* 1447 Horb am Neckar
† 1533 Nürnberg
Veit Stoß, born around 1447/48 in Horb on the river Neckar, can very well be called one of his days' most important wood carvers from north of the Alps.
Documents mention Veit Stoß (Veit Stohs, Veit Stosz, Veit Stwosz, Veit Stoss) for the first time in 1477, as he abstained from Nuremberg citizen right in that year and relocated to Krakow, where stayed, interrupted by a few journeys only, until 1496. It is likely that Veit Stoß was called to Krakow for his good reputation as a picture carver. The carved altar in the Krakow St Mary's Church is an early masterpiece.
It has not been clarified why Veit Stoß (Veit Stohs, Veit Stosz, Veit Stwosz, Veit Stoss), who had accomplished both fame and wealth in Krakow, left the town for good in 1496. After he had returned to Nuremberg Veit Stoß bought a house in 1499 and executed renowned carving works for local churches.
1503 marks a decisive turn in his biography: Veit Stoß was accused of bill forgery after two merchants had chiseled a lot of money out of him. In context of the circumstances at that time, the punishment was rather mild: besides a prison sentence and a public denunciation, Veit Stoß was not allowed to leave Nuremberg without the councilmen' consent. But in 1504 Veit Stoß fled to Münnerstadt.
After Veit Stoß (Veit Stohs, Veit Stosz, Veit Stwosz, Veit Stoss) had returned to Nuremberg, the city council made life hard for him. The fact that emperor Maximilian was his patron, he commissioned him to execute the imperial tomb in Innsbruck and also wrote a letter of clemency, was little helpful. However, despite all reprisal, Veit Stoß (Veit Stohs, Veit Stosz, Veit Stwosz, Veit Stoss) continued to make several masterpieces in Nuremberg, among them the famous "Angelic Salutation" in St. Lorenz (1517/18).
The art of Veit Stoß (Veit Stohs, Veit Stosz, Veit Stwosz, Veit Stoss) shows the influence of his apprentice years in Suebia and the Upper Rhine (Hans Multscher, Jörg Syrlin the Elder, Master E.S., Martin Schongauer, Niclas Gerhaert van Leyden). Especially the orientation towards the Upper Rhine region and the Netherlands (Rogier van der Weyden) must be considered decisive factor for the development of Veit Stoß' especially dramatic and agitated pictorial language. A great love for realistic details combined with a dynamic that almost reaches ornamental realms, are expression of a deeply spiritual sensation. Polish art also guided Veit Stoß (Veit Stohs, Veit Stosz, Veit Stwosz, Veit Stoss) on this path.
Veit Stoß (Veit Stohs, Veit Stosz, Veit Stwosz, Veit Stoss) did not follow any particular art school, however, his work's rank must not be underestimated. The carver died at Nuremberg in 1533.