Wolf Traut (Biographical details)

Wolf Traut (printmaker; painter/draughtsman; German; Male; 1486 - 1520)

Also known as

Traut, Wolf; Traut, Wolfgang


Painter, designer of woodcuts and glass paintings. Nuremberg c. 1485-Nuremberg 1520. Apprenticed to his father, Hans Traut (c. 1460-1516), a native of Speyer who became a citizen of Nuremberg in 1477. The earliest woodcuts to be firmly attributed to him were for Ulrich Pinder's 'Der beschlossen Gart des Rosenkranz Maria' of 1505, which he must have made while in the workshop of Albrecht Dürer (q.v.); and he was probably also an assistant of Hans von Kulmbach (q.v.). From 1512 to 1513, Dürer employed him to make woodcuts for his 'Triumphal Arch'. His most important painting, the Artelshofener altarpiece, signed and dated 1514, and originally in the Lorenzkirche, Nuremberg, is now in Munich (Bayerisches Nationalmuseum). From 1513 to 1518 he executed altar-pieces for the monastery at Heilsbronn (now Heilsbronn Münster, and Nuremberg, Germanisches National-museum). A few drawings have been attributed to Traut on a stylistic basis; they are to be found in Paris (Louvre), Erlangen (Universitätsbibliothek), Nuremberg (Germanisches Nationalmuseum) and elsewhere.

Bartrum 1995
Wolf Traut was apprenticed to his father Hans Traut (c.1460-1516), a painter and goldsmith from Speyer, who became a citizen of Nuremberg in 1477. The earliest woodcuts to be attributed to him are thirteen for Ulrich Pinder's 'Der beschlossen Gart des Rosenkrantz Marie' of 1505, which he made while in Dürer's workshop. Dürer's other pupils Hans Baldung, Hans Schäufelein and Hans von Kulmbach (c.1480-1522) also contributed to this important project; the book contained over a thousand woodcuts (see Chipps Smith, no. 40). During 1506 and 1507, Traut designed illustrations for three devotional treatises published by Holzel in Nuremberg; he may also have assisted Hans von Kulmbach while Dürer was in Italy in 1505-7. Between 1512 and 1515 he was employed by Dürer to make woodcuts for the 'Triumphal Arch' for the Emperor Maximilian. His most important painting, the Artelshofener altarpiece, signed and dated 1514, was made for the Lorenzkirche, Nuremberg, and is now in Munich (Bayerisches Nationalmuseum). Between 1513 and 1518 his main patron was Abbot Sebald Bamberger of the monastery at Heilsbronn, west of Nuremberg, for whom he painted three altarpieces and a portrait.
Dodgson listed nineteen single-sheet prints and illustrations for twenty-three books; of these, Traut's largest contribution was fifty-one designs for Bonaventura's 'Legend des heyligen vatters Francisci', Nuremberg, 1512. Another important set of woodcuts are those for the excessively rare 'Hallesche Heiligtumsbuch', commissioned by Cardinal Albrecht von Brandenburg and designed by Traut with two other artists; this was published in 1520, the year in which his death is recorded (Rauch, p. 104). He made one signed engraving, of which there is an impression in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (Passavant, iv, p. 173, I).


Rowlands 1993
Dodgson, i, pp. 500ff.; Rauch; C. Dodgson, OMD, xvi, 1930, pp. 72ff.; Thieme-Becker, xxxiii, 1939, pp. 351ff. (for further literature); Meister um Dürer, pp. 204ff.; Austin, Nuremberg, pp. 158ff; Nuremberg, Gothic & Renaissance, p.497.
Bartrum 1995
Biographies, as far as they are known from existing evidence, and a discussion of the careers of both Hans and Wolf Traut are given in C. Rauch, 'Die Trauts', Strasbourg, 1907; an addendum (pp. 108ff) lists a few prints supplementary to Dodgson, which is the main catalogue for the woodcuts (C. Dodgson. I, pp. 500ff). Traut's designs for, 'Der beschlossen Gart des Rosenkrantz Marie' were considered doubtful by Dodgson, but have become commonly accepted since; see 'Meister um Dürer', exh. cat., Germanisches Nationalmuseum, 1961, edited by Peter Strieder et al., p. 59; a selection of Traut's work is also catalogued, pp. 204ff.. Further details on Traut are given in Chipps Smith, pp. 158ff.