VISCHER, Peter the Elder
(b. ca. 1460, Nürnberg, d. 1529, Nürnberg)
The Vischers were a family of sculptors active in Nuremberg.
Hermann the Elder (d. 1488) established the family bronze-foundry, and the business was inherited by his son Peter the Elder (1460-1529), the best known of the Vischers. He was assisted by five sons: Hermann the Younger (1486-1517), Peter the Younger (1487-1528), Hans (1489-1550), Jacob and Paulus.
The masterpiece of the Vischer workshop is the spectacular bronze shrine over the sarcophagus of St Sebald in the church dedicated to him in Nuremberg. The first design by Peter the Elder (Academy, Vienna) dates from 1488, but actual work began only in 1508 and was carried out till 1519.
Through journeys of the younger generation the workshop had by that time gained a good deal of knowledge of Italian bronzes and in particular the work of north Italian sculptors. Thus the Sebald tomb became a fascinating mixture of Gothic and Renaissance styles. Peter the Elder also made two splendid free-standing figures (1512-13) of Theodoric and King Arthur for the tomb of the emperor Maximillian I in the Hofkirche, Innsbruck.
Georg (1522-92), a son of Hans, seems to have specialized in small decorative bronzes such as ink-wells.