Detail from Natural Fools, from the Triumphal Procession of Emperor Maximilian of Austria by Hans Burgkmair, 1526. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.
This is an image of a processional chariot festooned with greenery which carries five musicians, each crowned with a wreath of leaves and/or feathers. The second musician from the left plays a galoubet; the musician at the right plays a Jew's harp. The third musician/singer from the left has the initials H B on his belt. A banner, which is blank, is suspended above the chariot.
This woodcut was included in The Pipers: An Exhibition of Engravings, Watercolors and Lithographs from the Dayton C. Miller Collection, Library of Congress, March 1977. See another work by Burgkmair in the Miller collection, 306/M.
About the Artist
Hans Burgkmair, the elder, painter and woodcut designer, 1473-1531
Hans Burgkmair, a German painter, woodcut designer, and draughtsman, was born in Augsburg in 1473 and died in the same city in 1531. He studied painting with Martin Schongauer from 1488-1489 but, shortly after that, he began making designs for woodcuts for the printer, Erhart Ratdolt, in Augsburg. His early works included portraits and paintings commissioned by churches. After a trip to Italy in 1507, his work showed the influence of Renaissance concepts of space and architecture and coloring. About 1509, Burgkmair began making woodcut designs for various projects commissioned by Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519), including the Weisskunig for which he designed 118 woodcuts out of a total of 251 during the period of ca. 1514 to 1518. Then, from ca. 1516 to 1518, he also designed about half of the woodcuts for Maximilian's Triumphal Procession. It is for these series of woodcuts for Maximilian that Burgkmair is most well-known. After Maximilian's death in 1519, Burgkmair returned to painting and drawing. In his last years, Burgkmair designed some woodcuts to illustrate Luther's translation of the New Testament which was published in Augsburg in 1523. He also produced some history paintings for William IV, Duke of Bavaria. Along with Dürer, Lucas Cranach, Altdorfer, and Grünewald, Burgkmair was one of the most important 16th-century artists.
- For a description of the Triumph of Maximilian and this image, see Stanley Appelbaum, The Triumph of Maximilian I: 137 Woodcuts by Hans Burgkmair and Others, New York, Dover Publications, Inc., 1964, pp. [v]-viii, and p. 6, reproduced pl. 30; the placement of this woodcut in the sequence of the procession is shown in the last ten pages. LC call number: NE1205.B8A63. [back to article]
- For further biographical information on Burgkmair, see an article by Tilman Falk, "Hans Burgkmair I [the elder]," in Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online (subscription only). [back to article]