Hans von Aachen
Susannah and the Elders
Drawing in brown pen and ink and wash
Sheet: 8 ½ x 11 ½ inches; Framed: 15 1/4 x 18 3/16 inches
Hans von Aachen Cologne 1552 – 1615 Prague Susannah and the Elders. Drawing in brown pen and ink and wash; circa 1575. Along with Bartholomeus Spranger, Hans von Aachen is one of the central figures in Northern Mannerist painting and drawing. His career is typical of Northern artists in the later 16th & 17th centuries. In Italy by 1574, he traveled successively between Venice, Florence and Rome where he met Otto van Veen, the Bril brothers, Joris Hoefnagel, and Joseph Heintz. These artists were in the process of developing a late Mannerist style that synthesized Italian Mannerism with Northern style elements, namely exaggeration of figural form and gesture. Von Aachen went to Augsburg and Munich in 1587. These two cities, the first a major center of gold and silversmiths, and the second the dynamic capital of the Wittelsbach dynasty, were highly receptive to late Mannerist art in all its manifestations. By 1592, the Emperor Rudolf II, the greatest art patron of his day, had made von Aachen a court painter in Prague and confidential agent of the crown whose duties included not only painting, but also the acquisition of other works of art as well as diplomatic activity. Richly rewarded by the Emperor and his successor Matthias, his painting is a major element in the celebrated Rudolfine style that was exported throughout Northern Europe.