Hans Multscher (ca. 1400 - 1467)
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ca. 1400 - 1467
We know nothing of Hans Multscher’s training. In 1427, however, when the City Council of Ulm granted him town privileges, he proved himself to be a virtuoso schooled in the latest currents of Franco-Netherlandish sculpture, whose works in stone and wood were equally well wrought. Multscher received numerous privileges, which lent him a special status and quickly earned him a dominant position among his fellow artists in Ulm. He brought the art of that important imperial city to an international level for the first time. Until his death in 1467, he set standards in Ulm and far beyond.
Multscher is to be considered one of the leading sculptors north of the Alps in his day. Certain types of figures originated by him continued to influence Southern German sculpture even two generations later. His flourishing workshop carried out commissions from the Church, the nobility and the bourgeoisie alike with works of supreme artistic quality. His major works include the sandstone figures for the stately window of Ulm’s Town Hall, which he executed immediately before or after he became a citizen there (now in the Ulmer Museum); the Man of Sorrows on the western portal of the Ulm Minster (1429); a limestone relief in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum in Munich that presumably dates from around 1430 and was intended to serve as a sculptural sketch for the tomb slab of Duke Louis the Bearded of Bavaria-Ingolstadt; the small Trinity group in alabaster in the Liebieghaus (ca. 1430); the Karg Retable in the Ulm Minster which unfortunately survives only as a fragment (1433); the statues for the retable of the high alter in Sterzing (1456–1458) and the carved figure of St. Mary Magdalene in the Liebieghaus as well as the so-called Bihlafingen Mother of God in the Ulmer Museum (both around 1460–1465).
His works are exemplary of the transition from the idealism of the International Style to Late Gothic realism.