PACHER, Michael
(b. ca. 1435, Bruneck, d. 1498, Salzburg)


Tyrolean Painter and sculptor. He died at Salzburg, but most of his career was spent at Bruneck in the Tyrol. Nothing is known of his training, and the earliest recorded work by him (a signed and dated altarpiece of 1465) is now lost. He worked mainly for local churches, carrying out the carving as well as the painting of his altarpieces, and much of his work is still in situ. His most celebrated work is the St Wolfgang altarpiece (1471-81) in the church of St Wolfgang on the Abersee, a huge polyptych with some astonishingly intricate woodcarving.

Although Pacher's sculpture is rather late Gothic in spirit, his painting is strongly influenced by Italian art. He is particularly close to Mantegna, especially in the way dramatic effects are obtained by using a low viewpoint and setting the figures close to the picture plane. There is no documentary evidence that Pacher visited Italy, but because of its proximity to Tyrol it seems overwhelmingly likely that he did. Pacher's work had wide influence and he was the most important interpreter of Renaissance ideas for German painting before Dürer. A Friedrich and Hans Pacher, presumably related, were active in Tyrol at the same time as Michael, and Friedrich collaborated with him.