Hans von Aachen (1552-1615)
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Hans von Aachen was a German Mannerist painter. His name is derived from the birth place of his father, Aachen, in Germany. Other variations of the name include Johann von – and – von Achen and various concisions like Janachen, Fanachen, Abak, Jean Dac, Aquano, van Aken etc.
Hans von Aachen began painting in Germany as a pupil of the Flemish master E. Jerrigh. He then moved to Italy in 1574 to study further. He toured Rome and Florence, but eventually settled in Venice. He initially became a pupil of Kaspar Rems, but soon decided to develop his own Mannerist technique, by studying Tintoretto and Michelangelo’s followers. However, during all of his life, he was influenced by the style of Bartholomeus Spranger and Hendrick Goltzius, who dominated the art scene in Germany at the time.
He returned to Germany in 1588 where he became well-known as a painter of portraits for noble houses. He painted several works for Duke William V of Bavaria. He married Regina, the daughter of the composer Orlando di Lasso in Munich. In Munich he came into contact with the Imperial Court in Prague. In 1592 he was appointed official painter of Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor. However, Von Aachen only moved to Prague in 1601, where he stayed painting commissions from Emperor Rudolph II, and later from Matthias I.
Amongst van Aachens pupils were Peter Isaak and Joseph Heinz. His works have been copied by Wolfgang Kilian, Dominicus Custos and Jan Sadeler. Still wondering about a 16th century German painting in your family collection? Contact us…it could be by Hans von Aachen.