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Who Is Hans von Aachen?

Many of Hans von Aachen's paintings were inspired by Leonardo da Vinci.
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Hans von Aachen was a famous German painter who lived during the second half of the 16th century. Born in Germany, he studied painting in both Germany and Italy. Along with paintings depicting religious and historical scenes, he also painted portraits for many prominent families of the time. In fact, he became the official painter for the Holy Roman Emperor toward the end of the 16th century. Many of his paintings are now housed in museums and private collections around the world.

In 1552, Hans von Aachen was born in Cologne, Germany. He was named after Aachen, Germany, which was where his father was born. It was in Germany that von Aachen began to study painting.

Hans von Aachen's parents were rather well off, and they decided that their son should have an education. After he proved to be better at drawing than studying, they then decided to let him study painting. Around the age of 16, he began to study under a well-known Flemish artist, E. Jerrigh.

In 1574, Hans Von Aachen began to travel. He first went to Italy and stayed in Florence for a short time. Later, he traveled to Rome. It was in these cities that he studied the works of several other well-known artists.

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Around 1587, Hans von Aachen traveled back to his home country. It was around this time that he began to paint portraits for prominent families. Among them were the Fugger family, who were successful bankers and investment capitalists.

Shortly after he returned to Germany, Hans Von Aachen married. Regina, his bride, was the daughter of the well known Franco-Flemish composer, Orlando de Jasso. The wedding took place in Munich.

Hans von Aachen later became a favorite of Rudolf II, the Holy Roman Emperor at the time. Von Aachen became his official painter around 1592, and he later moved to Prague. It is said that Rudolf II enjoyed the sensual, yet elegant, paintings that von Aachen painted for him.

In 1605, Hans von Aachen was knighted. He continued to paint for the new Holy Roman Emperor, Mathias I, after Rudolf II's death in 1612. He continued to paint until his death in 1615.

Hans von Aachen was considered one of the more famous German painters. He was a mannerist painter, and many of his paintings were inspired by artists like Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. As of 2011, his paintings were stored in many museums around the world, including the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne and the Las Angeles Museum of Art.

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Discuss this Article

SkyWhisperer
Post 2

@allenJo - You are correct. The article says that he was a mannerist painter, and this is probably what makes his portraits palatable to the religious tastes.

Mannerism, from what I remember, emphasized intellectual and religious themes. So while you saw nudes in his paintings they were placed in contexts that didn’t overtly stress the sensual nature; rather they focused on cultural or mythical contexts.

I believe that context is everything. If you saw a nude model nowadays it would evoke a different response than a picture of a naked aborigine if you know what I mean.

allenJo
Post 1

Sensual is right. I’ve seen some of Hans van Aachen’s paintings and they are incredibly risqué, for the era in which he lived, especially since they evoked a style that was nearly photographic in its quality.

Why this style of painting created no outrage (I assume it didn’t) is beyond me. Perhaps the paintings were more or less sterilized by the fact that a lot of them dealt with religious themes, like Adam and Even being expelled from the garden.

Still, I think if I were living back in that age and were a religiously devout individual, I might blush at some of the paintings.

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