Matthias Grünewald (Dictionary of World Biography: Renaissance)
Article abstract: Grünewald was the culmination of the Gothic tradition in German painting while giving evidence of the primacy of individual artistic expression within the tradition of the Italian Renaissance. He employed Gothic principles of expressiveness and Renaissance pictorial conventions, creating a unique style which transcended the limitations of the traditions out of which he worked.
Matthias Grünewald, a figure of great stature in his own time, appears to have been quickly forgotten after his death. This neglect may be attributed in part to his preference for Gothic expressiveness in a period given over to the aesthetic concerns of the Italian Renaissance. Grünewald’s preoccupation with mystical interpretations and paintings which were largely religious was out of place in an increasingly worldly age for which strong, stark religious themes had less and less impact and significance. Direct knowledge of Grünewald is scant. Besides his extant works, little was left behind by the artist himself which would give a clear picture. Instead one must rely on secondary sources and documents and letters of the time. Early knowledge of Grünewald arose from the efforts of Joachim von Sandrart, a seventeenth century German artist and historian. Even Sandrart had difficulty in finding information on Grünewald. In the early twentieth century, another German scholar, Heinrich Schmidt, uncovered some of the...
(The entire section is 1762 words.)
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