Feb 20, 2008

Equestrian Portrait of the Emperor Maximilian

Equestrian Portrait of the Emperor Maximilian


Hans Burgkmair

(German, 1473–1531)

Woodcut, in black and white on paper washed blue

Support: Laid paper prepared with blue watercolor

Sheet: 32.3 x 22.7 cm (12 11/16 x 8 15/16 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1950.72

Catalogue raisonné: Hollstein V.108.323

State: ic./vii


Did you know?

Known as "the last knight," Maximilian was an enthusiast of tournaments and hunting; here he wears the type of fluted armor that later would be named for him.


Presented in full profile, the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I (reigned 1486–1519) and his mount emulate a classical equestrian portrait statue. The Latin abbreviations inscribed at the top of the page describe him as “August Emperor Caesar Maximilian,” a title conceptually equating him with the leaders of the ancient Roman Empire. The two-headed eagle on the banner is the emblem of his dynastic family, the Hapsburgs. This exceptionally rare chiaroscuro woodcut— printed with black and white inks on paper prepared with tinted wash—represents one of the earliest experiments with this technique. Of the two surviving impressions printed on hand-colored paper, this is the only one that is blue.

See also
PR - Woodcut
Type of artwork: 

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