JAMNITZER, Wenzel
(b. ca. 1507, Wien, d. 1585, Nürnberg)

Biography

Wenzel Jamnitzer I belonged to a German family of gold- and silversmiths, sculptors, designers and draughtsmen. Hans Jamnitzer I (d. 1549), a goldsmith of Vienna, settled his family in Nuremberg, where his descendants worked successfully for at least three generations. The most notable member of the family was his son Wenzel Jamnitzer I.

In 1534 Wenzel married Anna Braunreuchin (d 1575), who bore him four daughters and seven sons, of whom three, Hans Jamnitzer II (1539-1603), Abraham Jamnitzer (1555-91/1600) and Wenzel Jamnitzer II (1548-72), also learnt the goldsmith's craft and worked in their father's establishment, together with his brother Albrecht Jamnitzer (d 1555). Only his grandson, Christoph Jamnitzer, was his equal in artistic feeling and invention.

Wenzel is first recorded as a master goldsmith and a burgher of Nuremberg, and nothing is known of his apprenticeship. In 1543 he took up the post of engraver in the city mint and later held important honorary offices in Nuremberg, becoming a member of the Great Council in 1556 and the Small Council in 1573. His mark is the head of a lion en face, with the letter W beneath.



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