|The Blanton Museum of Art brings to Austin a selection of works from Augsburg, a wealthy German city and center of trade known for its innovative printmaking techniques and its important role in the spread of Renaissance ideas from Italy. It is the first exhibition in the United States to focus on Augsburg’s artistic achievements in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, and works to advance the scholarship of one of Germany’s oldest cities whose rich Renaissance heritage has long been eclipsed.|
Situated in southwest Bavaria along the Alpine pass into Italy, Augsburg was founded as a Roman military fortress in 15 BCE by Emperor Augustus. During the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519), Augsburg became the location of the Imperial Diet, a regular assemblage of rulers under the authority of the emperor. The patronage of the Habsburg Court and the rise of wealthy banking houses fostered a thriving environment with a diverse artistic community generating a prosperous center of manufacturing, printing, and armory production.
The exhibition features over 100 works of art including prints and drawings by Daniel Hopfer, Erhard Ratdolt, and Hans Burgkmair and others focusing on religious and secular life in Augsburg during the onset of the Protestant Reformation. Emphasis is placed on the examination of new printing techniques born out of Augsburg. Color printing was pioneered by Augsburg native Erhard Ratdolt (1447–1528), and further developed by Hans Burgkmair (1472-1531) and Jost de Negker (1485-1544). Featured in the exhibition is an impression of Ratdolt’s Christ on the Cross with the Virgin and Saint John, the earliest extant, multi-figured, color-printed woodcut in the Western world printed with six distinct colors. New scholarship reveals that etching as a printing technique was first explored in Augsburg by armor etcher, Daniel Hopfer (c. 1470-1536). His detailed church interiors and intimate depictions of the Holy family uncover his advanced experimentations with etching on iron plates. Important works by artists such as Albrecth Dürer, Hans Holbein the Elder, and Leonhard Beck are also on view.
Blanton Museum of Art Website