(b. ca. 1500, Fulda, d. 1554, Erfurt)


German painter and printmaker. One of the German printmakers of the 1500s known as the "Little Masters" because of their finely executed, small-scale prints, Hans Brosamer was instrumental in raising the standard of German Protestant book illustration. He worked in Fulda from about 1520 to 1545, painting portraits of distinguished local citizens and designing engravings and woodcuts. Brownish flesh tones, green backgrounds, and an interest in fine materials characterized his portraits.

By the time he moved to Erfurt around 1546, Brosamer, like many other struggling German painters, devoted himself exclusively to designs for both copper engravings and woodcuts. His woodcuts illustrated Martin Luther's Wittenberg Bible and Luther's Frankfurt Catechism, both from 1550, and his engravings range from Christian, mythological, and classical themes to genre scenes. Following Netherlandish Mannerist models, Brosamer depicted ambitious architectural backgrounds with groups of figures. He used very closely hatched lines to achieve the dense texture of his engravings.

He designed both on wood and copper, although he was properly a wood-engraver, signing himself on his portrait of the Landgrave of Hesse, 'Formschneider zu Erfurt,' where he resided during the latter part of his life. In his copper engravings his style is somewhat modern, and resembles rather the engravers who copied the designs of others than those of the earlier period, who invented their own subjects. He sometimes marked his plates with his name, and sometimes with a cipher.

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