A native of Bamberg, the painter Hans Pleydenwurff became a citizen of Nuremberg in 1457. Apart from a brief stay in Breslau in 1462, he worked in Nuremberg until his death. He also supplied designs for glass painters, and his style was developed from the Early Netherlandish painters, in particular Rogier van der Weyden.
Pleydenwurff's The Descent from the Cross, painted for the High Altar of the church of St Elizabeth in Breslau (1462; Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg), is the artist's earliest surviving major commission; the exact means by which he developed his mature style remains little understood. However, his superb Portrait of George, Count of Löwenstein (Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg) can be dated to c. 1456. It reveals the depth of Pleydenwurff's understanding of the Master of Flémalle/Rogier van der Weyden tradition of portrait painting. Indeed, this portrait is a major landmark in the evolution of portraiture in Germany.
It is possible that Pleydenwurff spent some time in the Netherlands. The clear spatial organization and the detailed treatment of figures and landscape elements in his Crucifixion (c. 1470; Alte Pinakothek, Munich) demonstrate his continued debt to Netherlandish models at the end of his life. The town in the background is clearly intended to be a realistic view of Bamberg; the Crucifixion was probably painted for Löwenstein, and formerly hung in Bamberg Cathedral.
After Pleydenwurff's death in 1472 Michael Wolgemut took over the workshop, and thus the traditions of Pleydenwurff's studio would have been transmitted to the young Albrecht Dürer.
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