Friday, June 28, 2013

Hans Sebald Beham, A Study Part 1

Various authors have made extensive studies on Hans Sebald Beham and his brother Barthel (Bartholomew) Beham, therefore, I will only go over some basics in this series about his artwork and leave the extensive biographical information for the Further Research section at the end of this post.

Without intending to begin this research, I found myself on the road to collecting and discovering as many of Hans Sebald Beham's existing artwork as were available online.  According to Loftie's Catalogue, Sebald is attributed with 312 drawings and etchings, as well as an indeterminate number of engravings.  Bartsch lists 171 pieces.  Wikipedia indicates "approximately 252 engravings, 18 etchings and 1500 woodcuts, including woodcut book illustrations."  Bildindex has 937 images which come from searching for Sebald Beham, a few of which are copies. For someone so prolific, you would think finding an organized collection of his artwork would be easier, but, if you can't find it, make it!  Over the next few weeks, I will be posting reenactment useful artwork by Hans Sebald Beham roughly categorized by social class and time frame.  Since there appears to lack an agreeing authority on his complete work, I will simply have to work with what I can find.

Thus far, I've been able to determine that Hans Sebald Beham tended toward the "Village Wedding" scenes.  He produced many different versions of the same theme over his lifetime, four of which come to mind without much concentration.  These sets of drawings show in detail the clothing of peasants or the working class.  He also produced artwork of the landsknect and, to my unlearned eye, the bourgeois, or upper middle class.  I haven't found very many drawings which involved the royal or noble class (that seemed to fall to his younger brother).  I also have not found many landscapes or artwork depicting anything other than people in some form or manner.  That is not to say that he didn't do landscapes, they simply aren't common.

Next week I'm going to tackle Sebald's working class while he was living in Nuremberg (Bavaria), roughly from 1518 to 1531.  During this time, he was banished from Nuremberg more than once, but he still managed to maintain his residency in the Bavarian region.  It wasn't until approximately 1532 that he moved to Frankfurt (Hesse) permanently.  To my untrained eye, there does not appear to be vast differences in the clothing styles between his artwork while living in Nuremberg and that of his removal to Frankfurt, but I needed to break these posts up in some manner and this seemed the most appropriate, therefore, following next week's post, I will tackle his Frankfurt working class, followed by his Landsknecht (soldiers) and then the Bourgeois, which will round out this 5 part series.  This series will in no way do justice to the amount of work he accomplished, but I hope it will provide a reasonable representation of the clothing styles of the time for the given classes of people.

Further Research:
  1. Catalogue of the prints and etchings of Hans Sebald Beham, painter, of Nuremberg, citizen of Frankfurt, by William John Loftie, 1877
  2. The Little Masters by William Bell Scott, 1879, pp. 49-87
  3. Le Peintre-graveur, Vol. 8, by Adam von Bartsch, 1866 Nouvelle Edition, pp. 112-249
  4. Sebald Beham: Entrepreneur, Printmaker, Painter by Allison G Stewart in the Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art,

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