Albrecht Altdorfer (Biographical details)

Albrecht Altdorfer (printmaker; painter/draughtsman; German; Male; 1482/5 - 1538)

Also known as

Altdorfer, Albrecht


Painter, architect, and printmaker from Regensburg, probably the son and pupil of Ulrich Altdorfer, a 'Briefmaler' and miniaturist who was active in Regensburg from 1478 to 1491. Little is documented of his youthful career, although his earliest works reveal the influence of Lucas Cranach and Albrecht Dürer. He also studied Italian engravings, a collection of which is recorded in his will. The majority of his prints were made between c.1506 and c.1525. Among his paintings to have survived, the most important commission was the large altarpiece with scenes from the Passion of Christ and the life of St Sebastian, done for the Augustine monastery of St Florian, near Linz, on which he worked intermittently from 1509 to 1516. His famous painting the 'Battle of Alexander', signed and dated 1529 (Munich, Alte Pinakothek), was one of a series commissioned by Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria. He also worked on commissions for the Emperor Maximilian. His printed oeuvre is remarkable for its variety: it amounts to ninety-three woodcuts, seventy-eight small and finely detailed engravings, and thirty-six etchings which include an innovative group of pure landscapes. The single most important collection of graphic work by Altdorfer, consisting of seventy-six drawings and fine impressions of the majority of his prints, was assembled in an album by Georg Abraham Peuchel and presented to the city of Regensburg in 1651 (now Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek).


F.Winzinger, 'Albrecht Altdorfer Zeichnungen: Gesamtausgabe', Munich, 1952; F. Dworshak et al, 'Der Kunst der Donauschule 1490-1540', Linz, 1965, pp. 35ff.; A. Shestack and C. Talbot, 'Prints and Drawings of the Danube School' New Haven, St Louis, Philadelphia, 1969-70, pp. 31ff.; G.R. Goldner and L. Hendrix, Burlington, cxxix, 1987, pp. 383ff; H. Mielke, 'Albrecht Altdorfer: Zeichnungen Deckfarbenmalerei Druckgraphik', Berlin and Regensburg, 1988; Rowlands 1993; C.S. Wood, 'Albrecht Altdorfer and the Origins of Landscape', London, 1993; Bartrum 1995; New Hollstein 1998; Lia Camerlengo et al, 'Romanino, un pittore in rivolta nel Rinascimento italiano', exh. cat. Trento, Castello del Buonconsiglio, 2006, nos. 58 and 73