Master of the Drapery Studies (Biographical details)

Master of the Drapery Studies (painter/draughtsman; designer; German; 1470 - 1497; approximate dates of actvity)

Also known as

Master of the Drapery Studies; Master of the Coburg Roundels

Biography

Draughtsman, designer of glass-paintings and painter, who worked in the upper Rhine (Strasbourg?) region. About 150 drawings, many of drapery studies, have been attributed to this interesting and prolific artist. Approximately one-third of them are housed in the Veste Coburg. Thorlacius-Ussing was the first to identify the hand when he published a small number of drawings in Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen, Frankfurt and elsewhere as being the sheets of a single sketchbook by a south German artist executed c. 1490. Buchner called the artist the Master of the Coburg Roundels after two drawings of roundels in the Veste Coburg probably made for glass-paintings. He also associated with the artist eleven further drawings and two paintings of the ‘Death of the Virgin’ (Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz Museum, and Cracow, National Museum). Winkler expanded the list to about a hundred drawings and named the artist the Master of the Drapery Studies, because of the preponderance of this type of work. Many of his drawings record paintings, sculpture and engravings of Netherlandish or German origin. Connections with Strasbourg are indicated by links with the Strasbourg glass-painter Peter Hemmel (c. 1422-after 1501), some of whose work this artist recorded; and also by the false Schongauer and Dürer monograms on many of the Master's drawings which were inscribed by the Strasbourg chronicler and collector Sebald Büheler on drawings in his collection (see 1873,0111.53).
The artist was an inveterate copyist and as there are no surviving copies by him of Dürer's earliest signed prints, it would seem likely that he was dead by 1497, the year in which Dürer produced his first dated engraving. See the dissertation by Roth for a recent assessment of his output.

Bibliography

V. Thorlacius-Ussing, Kunstmuseets Aarsskrift, xi-xii, 1924-5, pp. 244ff.; xiii-xv, 1926-8, pp. 137ff.; E. Buchner, Munich Jahrbuch, NF, iv, 1927, pp. 284ff.; L. Kaemmerer, Munich Jahrbuch, NF, iv, 1927, pp. 347ff.; F. Winkler, Wallraf Jahrbuch, NF, i, 1930, pp. 123ff.; L. Fischel, Oberrheinische Kunst, vi, 1934, pp. 27ff.; Thieme-Becker, xxxvii, 1950, p. 182; C. Andersson, 'From a Mighty Fortress: Prints, Drawings and Books in the Age of Luther 1483 - 1546', published in connection with an exhibition at Detroit, Ottawa and Coburg, 1981-2, Detroit, 1983, pp. 52, 108-44, 388-93; M. Roth, 'Die Zeichnungen des 'Meister der Coburger Rundblätter' inaugural diss., Freien Universität, Berlin, 1988 (typescript in Berlin); M.Roth in 'Die Karlsruhe Passion: Ein Hauptwerk Strassburger Malerei der Spätgotik', exh.cat. Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe, 1996, pp.173 - 185 (for drawings after the Master of the Karlsruhe Passion); M.Roth in 'Bilder aus Licht und Farbe. Meisterwerke spätgotischer Glasmalerei', Ulmer Museum, 1995; P. Lorentz, 'Jost Haller le peintre des chevaliers et l'art en Alsace au XVe siècle' book to accompany exhibition at Colmar, Musée d'Unterlinden, 2001, pp. 206ff. (for copies by the Master of the Drapery Studies of works by Jost Haller); 'Spätmittelalter am Oberrhein: Maler und Werkstätten 1450 - 1525', exhibition catalogue by Dietmar Lüdke et al, Karlsruhe, Kunsthalle, 2001-2002, pp. 21ff. and pp. 267ff.