Matthias Gerung (Biographical details)

Matthias Gerung (printmaker; painter/draughtsman; German; Male; c.1500 - 1568 or 1570)

Also known as

Gerung, Matthias

Biography

Pupil of Hans Schäufelein in Nördlingen. From 1525, he lived in Lauingen, where he worked for the Palatine Count Ottheinrich and was also employed from 1531 to 1567 as the town inspector of weights and measures. For Ottheinrich, he illuminated the New Testament and Apocalypse of a large multi-volume manuscript fifteenth-century Bible in 1530-31 (Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek); produced a cycle of paintings with the history of Paris and the destruction of Troy for a room in his castle at Neuburg c.1540; and designed a series of tapestries with scenes from the Count's life from 1533 to 1543 (for Gerung's work for Ottheinrich, see Brigitte Langer and Thomas Rainer (ed) 'Kunst und Glaube, Ottheinrichs Prachtbibel und die Schlosskapelle Neuburg', exhibition catalogue, Neuburg an der Donau, 2016, pp. 64ff). Ottheinrich converted to Protestantism in 1541, after which Gerung was employed to illustrate a set of the new church rules, the 'Kirchenordnung, wie es . . . in Otthainrichen Pfaltzgrauen . . . Fürstenthumb gehalten wirt' (J.Petrejus, Nuremberg, 1543), and to design woodcuts attacking the Papacy and the abuses of the Roman Church. These included his most important work, the series accompanying Sebastian Meyer's commentary on the Apocalypse, 1911,0708.116, begun in 1544. Gerung continued work on this project despite his apparent support of the Catholic Emperor Charles V in 1546. This is shown in a painting of 1551 which Gerung executed for the town council; it represents Charles V and his army receiving the homage of the councillors of Lauingen during the military campaign of 1546 against the Protestants and included a self-portrait of the artist (Lauingen, Heimathaus). As a consequence of Gerung's change of religious allegiance he was commissioned by the Cardinal Prince Bishop of Augsburg, Otto Truchsess von Waldburg, to design five woodcuts for the 'Missale secundum ritum Augustensis ecclesie' (S.Mayer, Dillingen, 1555). His latest work is also his best-known painting, the 'Melancholia' of 1558, which was inspired by Dürer's engraving, 1912,1220.2 (Karlsruhe, Kunsthalle). The majority of Gerung's seventy-seven woodcuts recorded in Hollstein are for the Apocalypse series; he also designed large multi-block religious compositions of which a few have survived, and architectural elements and ornamental borders (such as Hollstein, 8 and 76) with Italian Renaissance style motifs.

Bibliography

C. Dodgson, Prussian Jahrbuch, xxix, 1908, pp. 195ff.; Dodgson, ii, pp. 212ff., 447; C. Dodgson, Graph. Künste, NF, i, 1936, pp. 81-85; Hollstein, x, pp. 15ff.
P. Roettig, 'Reformation als Apokalypse: Die Holzschnitte von Matthias Gerung im Codex germanicus 6592. der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek in München', Bern, 1991 (reviewed by J. M. Massing, 'Print Quarterly', x, 1993, pp.56ff). For drawings by Gerung, see H. Geissler, 'Zeichnung in Deutschland: Deutsche Zeichner 1540-1640', exh. cat., Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie, 1979-80, p. 22.