Hans and Martin Brosamer As little we know about the life and education of Hans Brosamer (ca. 1500 - 1552/54), as extensive is the oeuvre he left. More than 1.200 woodcuts, mostly book illustrations, and a few engravings can be attributed to this artist, who's origins might go back to the circle of Cranach in Saxony, but who worked for several printers and publishers in some of the most important German centres of printmaking at his time.
The use of different monograms, his disparate styles, and the lack of written sources about his life led to speculations about the artists' identity and discussions about more than one person being the author of the oeuvre in the early days of his research. More recent scholars, however, tend towards addressing the work again as the output of one single artist. Already the mere amount of his woodcuts makes Hans Brosamer one of the most important German book illustrators between ca. 1530 and 1550.
His illustrations for Bibles and other religious prints were used for many decades and evoked copies by different artists in the aftermath. In addition to his religious illustrations he also left an extensive number of illustrations for small scaled popular books like 'Melusina' or 'Fortunatus' as well as illustrations to scientific works by Peter Apian and others. Compared with his woodcuts, engravings in his work play only a minor role and were produced solely within the decade between 1536 and 1545. In size, style, and iconography these small engravings show wide influences of the German Little Masters, who determined the development of the engraving in Germany during the second quarter of the 16th century.
In addition to the oeuvre of Hans Brosamer the catalogue also collects a few works by Martin Brosamer, Hans Brosamer's assumed son. The identity of this artist, who is more the creation of some art historians of the 19th century than a historic person, remains largely in the dark.
Compiled by Martin Knauer and edited by Hans-Martin Kaulbach