Animals

The World of Animals Created by Hans Hoffmann

Zuzanna Stańska 25 April 2022 min Read

Hans Hoffmann was a 16th-century German painter and draftsman. He was an artist in the court of Rudolph II (the one who loved arts and was probably mad) and a leading representative of the Dürer Renaissance, which specialized in watercolor and gouache nature studies, many of them copied from or based on Albrecht Dürer’s work.

Animals Hans Hoffmann
Animals: Hans Hoffmann, A Hare in the Forest, c. 1585, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Well, we know this hare from somewhere, don’t we?

Albrecht Dürer, Hare, 1502, Albertina, Vienna
Animals: Albrecht Dürer, Hare, 1502, Albertina, Vienna, Austria.

Hoffmann’s imitations were so admired that a biographer described him as,

A diligent painter . . . who copied Albrecht Dürer so assiduously that many of his works were sold as Dürer originals.

Quote from J. Paul Getty website.

Hans Hoffmann, Wing of a Roller, 1513, Staatsbibliothek, Bamberg, a copy after Albrech Durer
Animals: Hans Hoffmann, Wing of a Roller, 1513, Staatsbibliothek, Bamberg, Germany.
Albrecht Durer, Wing of a Roller, 1512, Albertina, Vienna
Animals: Albrecht Durer, Wing of a Roller, 1512, Albertina, Vienna, Austria.

In 1585, he was appointed as a court painter by Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, who brought him to the imperial court in Prague. At the imperial court, Hoffmann advised Rudolph on the development of his art collection and acquired works for him by Dürer to his famous Kunstkammer. But Hans Hoffmann, besides perfectly copying Dürer, was also a talented artist who created his own masterpieces. Especially those presenting animals. We have collected some of them in this article:

Red Squirrel (1528), watercolor on parchment, 32.5 x 25.6 cm. National Gallery of Art Animals Created By Hans Hoffmann
Animals: Hans Hofmann, Red Squirrel, 1528, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.

The art collection assembled by the Nuremberg citizen Paulus Praun contained more than 100 works by Hans Hoffmann. Because the collection was intact until the beginning of the 19th century, many of these works are documented.

Hans Hoffmann, Wild Boar Painting, 1578 Animals Created By Hans Hoffmann
Animals: Hans Hoffmann, Wild Boar Painting, 1578. Wikimedia Commons (public domain).

While Hoffmann was also active as a portraitist and painter of religious subjects, he is best remembered for his highly finished drawings after nature. It’s very important because artists of that time rarely painted from nature.

Animals Hans Hoffmann
Animals: Hans Hofmann, The Hedgehog, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA.
Animals Hans Hoffmann
Animals: Hans Hoffmann, An Affenpinscher, 1580. Secret Gardener.

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