Mair von Landshut (Biographical details)

Mair von Landshut (printmaker; painter/draughtsman; German; Male; 1485 - 1510; active)

Also known as

Mair von Landshut


Draughtsman, painter and engraver. Mair von Landshut is first mentioned in 1490, in the tax-register of Munich as a painter from Freising; in 1497 the Augsburg 'Stadtgerichtsbuch' refers to a Hans Mair, as a painter and citizen of Freising. Mair may have been an assistant of Jan Polack (died 1519) in Munich, since two panels of Polack's 'St Peter Altarpiece' are attributed to Mair ('St Peter healing a madman', in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich, and 'St Peter in prison' in the Peterskirche, Munich). No documented paintings by Mair are known but there are about thirteen attributed to him through association with his engravings. He is best known as a printmaker; many of his twenty-two engravings and three woodcuts are signed and ten are dated 1499. His association with Landshut is deduced from the coat of arms of this town on one of his engravings (Lehrs, no. 19) and in the watermark of an impression of another (Gotha, Landesmuseum; Lehrs, no. 4; Hollstein, no. 4). He also collaborated with the Landshut publisher and block cutter Hans Wurm (active c. 1501-4), who made a woodcut copy of his engraving 'Couple meeting in a gateway', the unique impression of which is in the British Museum (Hollstein, no. 20b). The technique with which Mair applied colour to his prints anticipates experiments in chiaroscuro printing made by Hans Burgkmair and Lucas Cranach in the second decade of the sixteenth century, Mair used hand-tinted paper for impressions of fourteen prints, sometimes adding white heightening, to simulate the effect of a drawing.
Some thirteen known drawings are considered to be his work, three of which are signed (Vienna, Albertina, inv. no. 4847; Munich, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, inv. no. 28379, and Venice, Accademia, inv. no. 468) and some of which are dated, including his last known work of 1504 (Vienna, Albertina, inv. no. 3052).


From Rowlands 1993: Schubert, Mair von Landshut; Thieme-Becker, xxiv, 1930, pp. 492f.; Lehrs, viii, 1932, pp. 282ff.; Stange, x, 1960, pp. 124-31; Hollstein, xxiii, 1979, pp. 89ff. (for further literature); Andersson, Detroit, pp. 302ff.