Judith and Holofernes Hans von Aachen 1552/1615

From the collection of
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Title: Judith and Holofernes
Creator: Hans von Aachen
External Link: For more information about this and thousands of other works of art in the NGA collection, please visit http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/global-site-search-page.html?searchterm=1987.31.1
Medium: pen and brown ink with brown and gray wash on laid paper; laid down
Object Credit: Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund
Dimensions: overall: 26.8 x 41.3 cm (10 9/16 x 16 1/4 in.)
Classification: Drawing
Artist School: German
Artist Nationality: German
Artist Details: German, 1552 – 1615

Hans von Aachen

Hans von Aachen (1552 – 4 March 1615) was a German painter who was one of the leading representatives of Northern Mannerism

Hans von Aachen was a versatile and productive artist who worked in many genres He was successful as a painter of princely and aristocratic portraits, and further painted religious, mythological and allegorical subjects Known for his skill in the depiction of nudes, his eroticized mythological scenes were particulzarly enjoyed by his principal patron, Emperor Rudolf II These remain the works for which he is best known He also painted a number of genre paintings of small groups of figures shown from the chest upwards, laughing, often apparently using himself and his wife as models Von Aachen usually worked on a small scale and many of his works are cabinet paintings on copper

The life and work of Hans von Aachen bear unique witness to the cultural transfer between North, South and Central Europe in the late 16th and early 17th centuries After training in the tradition of Netherlandish Renaissance painting the artist moved to Italy in 1574, where he remained for about 14 years, mainly working in Venice He returned in 1587 to his native Germany, where he took up residence in Munich in Bavaria His final years were spent in Prague The combination of the Netherlandish realism of his training and the Italian influences gained during his travels gave rise to his unique painting style

His presence in the important art centres of the time, the wide distribution of prints after his designs and his congenial character all contributed to his international fame during his lifetime