Bartholomeus Spranger Belgium

3-21-1546 Antwerp, BEL – 6-27-1611 Prague, CZE

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Spranger, Bartholomeus

Bartholomeus Spranger trained with Cornelis van Dalem, Jan Mandijn, and Frans Mostaert, all three landscape painters. He further copied prints of Frans Floris and Parmigianino. He traveled to Paris in 1565 where he worked for six weeks in the workshop of Marc Duval. He then travelled on to Italy, where he first stayed for eight months in Milan. Bartholomeus Spranger then worked for three months in Parma as an assistant to Bernardino Gatti on the painting of the dome of the Santa Maria della Steccata.

In Rome Bartholomeus Spranger became, like El Greco, a protégé of Giulio Clovio. Pope Pius V appointed him court painter in 1570. He was summoned to Vienna by Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor, who died soon after his arrival in 1576. But his successor Rudolf II was even more keen to employ him, and in 1581 he was appointed court painter and also valet de chambre, the court having moved its seat to Prague, where he stayed until his death, shortly before Rudolf was deposed. Rudolf arranged a wealthy marriage for him, and his house was a centre for artists in Prague.

Bartholomeus Spranger's paintings for Rudolf mostly depict mythological nudes in various complex poses, with some connection to the Emperor's esoteric Late-Renaissance philosophical ideas. His paintings are the most characteristic of the final phase of Northern Mannerism.

Bartholomeus Spranger also worked as a sculptor. He may have a acquired his knowledge of sculpture through his collaboration with the Flemish sculptor Hans Mont, who also worked at the Prague court. After Mont left the Prague court, Spranger appears to have worked intermittently as a sculptor for the emperor, at least until Adriaen de Vries arrived in Prague in 1601.

Art Movement: Mannerism Art
Influences: Cornelis van Dalem, Jan Mandijn, Frans Mostaert
Traveled: France, Italy, Czech
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