Adam Elsheimer Biography | Oil Painting Reproductions
3-18-1578 Frankfurt, GER – 12-11-1610 Rome, ITABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Adam Elsheimer was apprenticed to the artist Philipp Uffenbach who specialized in large altarpieces. It is documented that in 1598 at twenty years old, he made a trip to Italy stopping first along the way in Munich.
Adam Elsheimer worked as an aide to Johann Rottenhammer, a German who had been living in Italy for a few years, and was the first German painter to specialize in cabinet paintings on copper. Elsheimer's earliest small paintings on copper seem to date from before he arrived in Italy, Rottenhammer's influence is clear on his mature work.
He was admitted to the Accademia di San Luca, and the Roman painters' Guild, in 1606, giving them his self-portrait, the only portrait he ever painted, and only painting on canvas. Despite his popularity and talents, he appears to have both lived and died in troublesome financial circumstances.
Adam Elsheimer's work of art of Tobias and the Angel was especially well received because of its new conception of landscape. His enchanting nocturnal elegy Flight into Egypt is undoubtedly his best-known work. The perfect depiction of the expanse of the night sky, with the Milky Way and sparkling constellations, illuminated by a full moon, is a notable example of Elsheimer's great interest in science, particularly the discoveries of Galileo Galilei. While Galileo pointed his telescope at the stars, advancing theories and doubts, Italian artists never painted the sky in its true form until Elsheimer.
Adam Elsheimer had a definite preference for picking uncommon and unique subjects for both his mythological and religious paintings. Jupiter and Mercury in the House of Philemon and Baucis are based on an episode in Ovid and had never been painted before. The Mocking of Ceres, Apollo and Coronis, and Il Contento were also new subjects.
His perfectionism and a tendency for depression resulted in a small total output of work, despite the small size of all his pictures. In all about forty paintings are now generally agreed to be by him. He made a few etchings, not very successfully. Yet, his work was highly regarded by other artists and a few important collectors for its quality. He had a direct influence on other Northern Renaissance artists who were in Rome such as Paul Bril, Jan Pynas, Leonaert Bramer and Pieter Lastman, who was later to become Rembrandt's teacher.
Art Movement: Northern Renaissance.
Artists Influencing Elsheimer: Johann Rottenhammer, Philipp Uffenbach.
He Traveled To Italy.
Painters Adam Elsheimer Influenced: Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, Paul Bril, Jacob Pynas.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.