(b. 1484/85, Schwäbisch-Gmünd, d. 1545, Strasbourg)


German painter and graphic artist. He probably trained with Dürer in Nuremberg, but his brilliant color, expressive use of distortion, and taste for the gruesome bring him closer in spirit to his other great German contemporary, Grünewald.

His output was varied and extensive, including religious works, allegories and mythologies, portraits, designs for stained glass and tapestries, and a large body of graphic work, particularly book illustrations. He was active mainly in Strasburg, but from 1512 to 1517 he lived in Freiburg-im-Breisgau, where he worked on his masterpiece, the high altar for Freiburg Cathedral, the centre panel of which is a radiant Coronation of the Virgin. He is noted for representations of the Virgin Mary, in which he combined landscapes, figures, light, and colour with an almost magical serenity. His portrayals of age, on the other hand, have a sinister character and a mannered virtuosity. His most characteristic paintings, however, are fairly small in scale - erotic allegories such as Death and the Maiden, a subject he treated several times. Eroticism is often strongly present in his woodcuts, the best known of which is The Bewitched Stable Boy (1544), which has been interpreted as an allegory of lust.