Hans von Aachen Biography and Paintings

Hans von Aachen Biography

Hans von Aachen (1552 – 1615)


German mannerist painter Hans von Aachen was born in Cologne and took his name from his father’s birthplace. He first trained with a minor painter in his native Cologne, and he took his name from his father’s hometown. He probably joined the Cologne painters’ guild before leaving for Italy around 1574. After a stay in Venice, von Aachen was soon in Rome, learning from a circle of Northern European artists. He also painted portraits in Florence.

He returned to Germany in 1587, first to Augsburg where he painted portraits for the wealthy Fugger family. He also worked in Munich, where he was commissioned to paint two altarpieces for the church of St Michael. After visiting his home town Cologne and a return trip to Venice, he chose Munich as his residence from 1589. In Germany he became well known as a painter of portraits for noble houses. He also produced historical and religious scenes and earned a wide reputation. He painted several works for Duke William V of Bavaria.

in Prague


From 1596 he settled in Prague, where he mainly served the Emperor Rudolf II as artist and adviser on the acquisition of art objects. Von Aachen’s Prague paintings reflect Rudolf’s desire for sensuality, with smoothly modeled, elongated figures arranged in elegant poses, often including a nude woman seen from behind. His style combined an idealization indebted to Roman and Florentine Mannerism with brilliant Venetian color and Dutch realism. The many engravings published after his designs spread von Aachen’s influence.

After his patron’s downfall in 1605 and his death in 1612 von Aachen was, unlike most of Rudolf’s court artists, retained by Rudolf’s successor Matthias I who gave him an estate in Raussnitz. Emperor Matthias sent him to Dresden and Vienna in 1612, while 1613 saw him back in Augsburg, and 1614 again in Dresden.

Von Aachen’s pupils included Pieter Isaacsz, who was his pupil in Italy while Andreas Vogel, Christian Buchner and Hans Christoph Schürer were his pupils in Prague.


Labels: famous artists biography
December 17, 2019
Return to List