KREBS, Conrad
(b. ca. 1491, d. 1540, Torgau)

Biography

German architect. He assisted in vaulting the west gallery at the Morizkirche, Coburg, in 1518-19 and from 1520 was in charge of building the nave. In 1525 Krebs became a citizen of Coburg and was connected with the town for the rest of his life. Appointed architect to Elector John-Frederick of Saxony on 1 December 1532, he extended his activities widely in the Elector's territory, at first as executive Master of the Works, but later often only as the designer or consultant architect.

The Johann-Friedrich-Bau at Hartenfels Castle, Torgau, was built in 1533-36; its façade and great spiral stairs make it a major work of the early German Renaissance. The open staircase tower largely reflects earlier developments in Saxony and Franconia, the supposed influence from French buildings being indirect. The Italianate ornament is taken from engravings, and perhaps from south German and Bohemian models. In 1533 Krebs provided the design for the fountain in Coburg Castle.

Krebs travelled to Franconia in 1535, and to Berlin in 1537, where he designed a new palace on the pattern of Torgau. In his last years he was concerned with a variety of commissions most of which are known only from documents: in Gotha (a design for the arsenal at the castle, 1538), Eisenach, Torgau (a model for a watermill, 1538-39) and above all in Wittenberg (conversion of the Franciscan church into a granary, a design for the city fortifications and remodeling of the castle church).

His design for Torgau Castle (the essential parts of which are extant) places Krebs among the most important of the central German architects who contributed to the introduction of Renaissance ideas during the last phase of Late Gothic, thus creating an individual style that retained Late Gothic features and was distinctly different from Italian buildings.



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