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Wolfgang Avemann (I583 - nach I620) und die frühe Verbreitung der niederländischen Architekturmalerei

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It is sometimes difficult to distinguish the work of those Netherlandish painters who left their homeland in the second half of the I6th century, from that of their German pupils and followers from around I600. The genre of architectural painting is a particularly informative example of the complexities involved in this cultural exchange. Some years ago, the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Kassel, acquired a very interesting interior by an almost unknown Hessian painter Wolfgang Avemann (I583- after I620) (fig. I). With this as the starting point, it is possible to reattribute to Avemann a number of perspective paintings (fig. 3, 5-8, I2, 13), which until now were mostly attributed to either Hendrik van Steenwijck the Elder (around I550 - I603) or the Younger (I58I/82-I649). The Van Steenwijck workshop was active at Frankfurt around I600, and since in almost all his paintings Avemann used the Van Steenwijck compositional structure (fig. 2, 4, 9), it is most probable that he was an apprentice in their workshop in Frankfurt. Moreover, his figures were influenced by Frederik and Gillis van Valckenborch (fig. I0), who returned to Frankfurt from Italy just at the time when Avemann was learning his craft. Avemann became a master in Nuremberg in I6I2. Another young master of perspective painting working in the city at the same time was Paul Juvenel (I579-I643) (fig. II), whose father was a Netherlandish émigré. Interestingly, Juvenel's pictures are sometimes mistaken for works by the Van Steenwijcks. Clarifying Avemann's role as a painter of perspective pictures expands not only our understanding of the genre of perspective painting in the early I7th century, but also sheds light on the important influence of Netherlandish artists living in Frankfurt (and Nuremberg) - and just at the time when the young Adam Elsheimer departed for Italy.


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