- Also known as
primary name: Beham, Barthel
- individual; painter/draughtsman; printmaker; German; Male
- Life dates
- Painter, engraver and designer of woodcuts. He may have been trained in the studio of his elder brother Sebald (q.v.). Together with Sebald and Georg Pencz (q.v.), he was banished in January 1525 from Nuremberg for advocating radical religious views. Although they were permitted to return the following September, Barthel, after further difficulties with the city fathers, finally left Nuremberg, moving to Munich in 1526. From this point in his career he concentrated more on paintings and produced fewer engravings. At first he worked for Wolfgang Muelich (active 1520-before 1542) and then for the dukes of Bavaria, who were among the most fervent Catholic princes of the Empire. For Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria he painted religious pictures, the most important of which is the 'Miracle of the True Cross', dated 1530 (Munich, Alte Pinakothek) and he painted about a dozen portraits of members of the Wittelsbach family. According to the contemporary biographer Johann Neudörfer, the duke held Barthel's work in high esteem, and paid his expenses for a journey to Italy, for the sake of "experience and art", where he died in 1540. Although less productive than his brother Sebald, Barthel was a more innovative engraver, and many of his designs were copied or adapted by Sebald, who probably inherited his stock of plates after his death. Barthel's interest in small, unconventional figure compositions and Italianate designs of secular subject-matter such as small ornament prints with putti, introduced many number of novel aspects to the repertoire of German printmakers.
- The main catalogues for Barthel Beham's prints are Gustav Pauli, 'Barthel Beham: Ein kritisches Verzeichnis seiner Kupferstiche', Strasbourg, 1911; and Heinrich Röttinger, 'Die Holzschnitte Barthel Behams', Strasbourg, 1921. Hollstein does not adopt an independent numbering system, but follows the order used in these two works. See also Alison G. Stewart, 'The First 'Peasant Festivals': Eleven Woodcuts Produced in Reformation Nuremberg', PhD dissertation, Columbia University, 1986, facsimile publication, Ann Arbor, 1993, pp. 365ff.