The Northern Side

Along with Albrecht Dürer, the painters Hans Holbein the Elder and Hans Burgkmair the Elder are regarded as pioneers of a new art: Renaissance painting. The centre of this art was the imperial and commercial metropolis of Augsburg, which developed into the capital of both the German and international Renaissance in just a few decades. In the autumn of 2023, the Städel Museum – together with the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna – will dedicate a major special exhibition to this art historical turning point.

About the Exhibition

For the first time, a significant number of the most important paintings, drawings, and prints by Hans Holbein the Elder (c. 1460/70–1524) and Hans Burgkmair the Elder (1473–1531) will be brought together in one exhibition, including Holbein’s monumental “Frankfurt Dominican Altarpiece” (1501) from the Städel Museum’s collection, “Saint Catherine” (c. 1509/10, Friedenstein Castle Foundation, Gotha), and Burgkmair’s “Christ on the Mount of Olives” (1505, Hamburger Kunsthalle), as well as his paintings “Portrait of Hans Schellenberger” (1505) and “Portrait of Barbara Schellenberger” (1507, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, Cologne). Works by other Augsburg-based artists from the period, dating from 1480/90 to around 1530, as well as selected German, Italian, and Dutch artworks by Albrecht Dürer, Andrea Solario, and Hugo van der Goes, among others, will augment the selection. These works were created either for municipal patrons or had an exemplary influence on the work of Holbein and Burgkmair.

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    Hans Burgkmair, Portrait of Hans Schellenberger, 1505

    Hans Burgkmair (1473–1531)

    Portrait of Hans Schellenberger, 1505
    Basswood, 41 x 28 cm
    Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, Köln
    © Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln / Sabrina Walz, RBA C 004453

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    Hans Holbein the Elder, Resurrection, 1501

    Hans Holbein the Elder (1460/70–1524)

    Resurrection (Belongs to Inside of the Outer Wings of the High Altar of the Dominican Church in Frankfurt), 1501
    Mixed technique on spruce wood, 166,3 x 150,5 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Public Domain

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    Jan van Eyck, Lucca Madonna, ca. 1437

    Jan van Eyck (ca. 1390–1441)

    Lucca Madonna, ca. 1437
    Mixed technique on oak, 65,7 x 49,6 cm
    Städel Museum Frankfurt am Main, Public Domain

More than almost any other city north of the Alps, Augsburg was influenced early and lastingly by the humanist culture of Italy, promoted by its Roman past and its geographical proximity to the most important Alpine passes. Due to the art appreciation of internationally active banking and trading families such as the Fuggers and the Welsers, the many stays of Emperor Maximilian I, and the frequently convening Imperial Diets, Augsburg became a cultural centre where Holbein and Burgkmair were able to test and develop new artistic positions in Renaissance painting. While Holbein primarily focused on the novelties of Dutch painting since Jan van Eyck and incorporated these into his art, Burgkmair brought the innovations of Italian Renaissance art to Augsburg, especially in the wake of Albrecht Dürer. The extent to which the art of the two painters also influenced subsequent generations of artists becomes impressively visible in the works of Hans Holbein the Younger. The exhibition presents a comprehensive overview of the development of Northern European art from the late Gothic period to the beginning of the modern age.

An exhibition of the Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, and the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Curator, Städel Museum: Prof Dr Jochen Sander (Deputy Director and Head of German, Dutch and Flemish Paintings before 1800)
Curator, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna: Dr Guido Messling (Curator for German Painting at the Picture Gallery)

Supported by: Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe with Deutsche Leasing AG, Frankfurter Sparkasse & Sparkassen-Kulturfonds des Deutschen Sparkassen- & Giroverbandes; Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.

Picture: Hans Burgkmair, Portrait of Barbara Schellenberger, 1507, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, Köln, © Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln, RBA C 004538