STRIGEL, Bernhard
(b. 1460, Memmingen, d. 1528, Memmingen)

Biography

German painter, son or nephew of Hans Strigel II. His training with Hans Striegel II shows stylistically in his early works in the canton of Grisons, e.g. the Last Judgement (1486; Brigels, pilgrimage chapel of St Eusebius) and an altarpiece at Disentis (1489; St Johann Baptist). In the 1480s and 1490s he also worked in the studio of Ivo Strigel (1430-1516). Motifs in his pictures stem from engravings by Martin Schongauer and from Ulm book woodcuts. He met Bartholomäus Zeitblom as a fellow worker on the high altar (1493–94) of Blaubeuren Abbey, both being influenced by Netherlandish art: Zeitblom by Rogier van der Weyden but Strigel primarily by Dieric Bouts. This influence is also seen in his Adoration of the Magi altarpiece (c. 1500; Memmingen, Städtmuseum). The altar of the Virgin for the monastery at Salem (1507–08; Salem, Schloss) has links with Dürer's graphic work: an increasing three-dimensionality and monumentalization of the objects and figures, and their disposition in space. Through the influence of Hans Holbein the Elder and of Augsburg portraiture his work achieved a stabilization of form c. 1517–20. In the Crucifixion (after 1515; Prague, National Gallery) the influence of Lucas Cranach becomes apparent.

In 1515, at the Emperor's behest, Strigel first visited Vienna, painting a portrait of the Imperial Family. A second visit in 1520 produced the portrait of the family of Cuspinian, the Viennese humanist (private collection). An inscription on its back gives Strigel's name, origin, age and profession, adding his post as imperial court painter and his ennoblement by Maximilian I. He held municipal posts and undertook missions for the town of Memmingen from 1512 onwards, mediating with the Bishop of Augsburg during religious conflicts in 1523. The fully signed and dated portrait of the pharmacist Hulderich Wolfhardt (1526; private collection) exemplifies the whole range of his portrait art. The coloration in particular of his later painting is modified by contacts with the Danube school gained on his visits to Vienna. This is seen in altar panels from the Nikolauskirche in Isny (c. 1520; Staatliche Museen, Berlin) and in the Guardians of the Tomb (1521–2; Munich, Alte Pinakothek). Strigel was a draughtsman of great ability and individuality and is notable especially for his pioneering use of white and red highlights on tinted paper. He remains one of the leading masters of the transitional period between Late Gothic and the Renaissance in Swabia.