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Heinrich Aldegrever

Paderborn 1502 - Soest 1555


Heinrich Aldegrever was born in Paderborn in 1502 as the son of a clog-maker. His original name in his native lower German tongue was Hinrik Trippenmeker, but he was called Aldegrever. Aldegrever was an important German painter, copperplate engraver and goldsmith. He worked in Soest, an important Westphalian town at the time, where he also died between 1555 and 1561. Around 1526/27 Aldegrever became a member of the painters guild and a citizen of Soest. During that time Aldegrever's paintings and copperplate engravings were strongly influenced by his role-model Albrecht Dürer. Between 1527 and 1555 Aldegrever produced approximately 290 mostly small-format copperplate engravings. About 200 of them depict scenes from the Old and New Testament, allegorical figures, ancient Gods and mythological characters from Roman history. The two sequences of the "Hochzeitstänzer" from 1538 and 1551 are particularly interesting with regard to their cultural and historical value. About one third of Aldegrever's works are ornamental engravings in Renaissance style, which were often used as models by artist-craftsmen. Aldegrever also produced portrait engravings of Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon and his sovereign, Duke Wilhelm III. of Cleve, Jülich and Berg. Aldegrever was of Lutheran faith. The Bishop of Münster, Franz von Waldeck, commissioned him to produce portrait engravings of the Anabaptists Jan Bockhold and Bernt Knipperdolling. Aldegrevers comprehensive and artistically valuable set of copperplate engravings made him a well-known exponent of German graphic art in the 16th century.


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