Painting on Light: Drawings and Stained Glass in the Age of Dürer and Holbein

Getty Publications

The names Albrecht Dürer and Hans Holbein the Younger evoke
the dazzling accomplishments of Renaissance panel painting and printmaking, but
they may not summon images of stained glass. Nevertheless, Dürer, Holbein, and
their southern German and Swiss contemporaries designed some of the most
splendid works in the history of the medium. This lavish volume is a
comprehensive survey of the contribution to stained glass made by these
extraordinarily gifted draftsmen and the equally talented glass painters who
rendered their compositions in glass.

Included are discussions of both monumental church windows
and smaller-scale stained-glass panels made for cloisters, civic buildings,
residences, and private chapels. The subjects of these rarely seen drawings and
panels range from religious topics to secular themes, including love, planets,
hunts, and battles. 

Focusing on stained glass produced in Germany and
Switzerland from about 1495 to 1530, Painting
on Light
includes drawings by Dürer, Holbein, Albrecht Altdorfer, Hans
Baldung Grien, Jörg Breu the Elder, Hans Burgkmair, Urs Graf, Hans von
Kulmbach, Hans Leu the Younger, Niklaus Manuel Deutsch, Hans Schäufelein, Hans
Weiditz, and others. This informative book is published in conjunction with an
exhibition at the Getty Museum from July 11 through September 24, 2000, and
from November 7, 2000, to January 4, 2001, at the Saint Louis Art Museum. 

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Getty Publications
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Published on
Mar 1, 2001
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Art / Collections, Catalogs, Exhibitions / General
Art / European
Art / Subjects & Themes / Religious
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Eligible for Family Library

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In 1561–62 the master calligrapher
Georg Bocksay, imperial secretary to the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I,
created the Mira calligraphiae monumenta
as a demonstration of his own pre-eminence among scribes. Years later,
Ferdinand’s grandson, the Emperor Rudolf II, commissioned Europe’s last great
manuscript illuminator, Joris Hoefnagel, to embellish his work. The resulting
book is at once a treasury of extraordinary beauty, a landmark in the cultural
debate between word and image, and one of the most intriguing memorials of
Rudolf’s endlessly fascinating rule in Prague.

complete facsimile of the codex, now in the J. Paul Getty Museum, is supported
by scholarly commentaries and biographies of both artists. Bocksay assembled a
vast selection of contemporary and historical scripts for a work which
summarized all that had been learned about writing up to that date—a testament
to the universal power of the written word. The finest white vellum and lavish
use of gold and silver highlighted his flamboyant technical prowess and
extraordinary sureness of hand.

took his commission to decorate this marvel, now accompanied by an alphabet of
Roman majuscules and Gothic miniscules, as a challenge to prove the superiority
of his art over Bocksay’s words. Every resource of illusionism, colour and form
was employed in a rich, striking, and witty scheme. Brilliant grotesques of all
kinds—flowers, fruit, insects, animals, monsters and masks—counterpoint the
lettering and elaborate on the nature of the universe, the word of God, and the
glory of His temporal representative, the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II.

consuming interest to scholars, collectors, bibliophiles and art historians,
this remarkable opus will also be a key source of inspiration for graphic
designers, typographers, practising calligraphers and devotees of the art of
the book.


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