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  • Der Mahler Ordnung und Gebräuch in Nürmberg": Die Nürnberger Maler(zunft)bücher ergänzt durch weitere Quellen, Genealogien und Viten des 16., 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts
  • John Roger Paas
Andreas Tacke , ed. "Der Mahler Ordnung und Gebräuch in Nürmberg": Die Nürnberger Maler(zunft)bücher ergänzt durch weitere Quellen, Genealogien und Viten des 16., 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts. Munich and Berlin: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2001. 762 pp. index. illus. tbls. bibl. €155. ISBN: 3–422–06343–9.

Guilds were a common and often powerful institution in many German towns and cities in the Middle Ages and early modern period, but not so in Nuremberg, the preeminent free imperial city. A fierce struggle there in 1348–49 between the ruling patriciate and craftsmen intent on gaining a role in the city's government was decisively won by the wealthy elite, and the immediate result was the dissolution and banning of all guilds and other craft organizations in the city in perpetuity. The wealth and power of the city nonetheless depended heavily on the untarnished reputation of its merchants and their products, and, thus, guild-like organizations to guarantee high quality and to govern activities and protect jobs did develop but were under the direct control of the city. One of these organizations was that of the Flach- und Ätzmaler (painters and etchers, i.e. printmakers).

The professional lives of the Nuremberg painters and printmakers were closely regulated (as were those of all craftsmen in the town), and the rules that governed their activities were eventually codified and written down. Regrettably, the original document was lost in the early nineteenth century, but by a stroke of good luck a copy made in the first half of the seventeenth century by Johann Hauer (1586–1660), a painter, etcher, art dealer, and publisher, survives. Of the more than 150 crafts that were carried out in Nuremberg we are fortunate that it is the rules of the painters and printmakers that have come down to us, for Nuremberg was one of the leading centers of book and print production in Europe in the early modern period. Hauer's manuscript offers us an intimate look at the entire breadth of the artisans' professional lives from their formal training and professional advancement to their specific working and living conditions. Hauer augmented his manuscript with personal notes along with biographical facts and observations about many of [End Page 654] his fellow artists and artisans, and he was well suited to do so, for he was for many years one of the official representatives of the painters and printmakers in Nuremberg. The Hauer manuscript is supplemented by additional contemporary archival documents that Tacke and his collaborators (Heidrun Ludwig, Ursula Timann, Klaus von Andrian-Werburg, and Wiltraud Fischer-Pache) include from the Nuremberg Municipal Archives and the State Archives in Nuremberg as well as by a later manuscript held in the British Museum that contains important documentary evidence into the early eighteenth century.

All of this archival evidence helps to establish a clear picture of the conditions under which Hauer and his fellow craftsmen worked. This is, however, only part of a much grander scholarly undertaking on the part of Tacke and his collaborators. This single volume of over 700 pages has actually three distinct but intimately related parts: first, a lengthy, well-researched, and carefully documented introductory essay, which gives essential background information about the major documents and which helps to place Hauer's career in a clear historical perspective; second, a meticulous transcription of the major documents; third, highly informative, in-depth biographies by Friedrich von Hagen on the artists and printmakers mentioned in the documents. This final section concludes with ninety-three detailed family trees that clarify relationships within families and between families in the artistic community in Nuremberg.

A common drawback of a book like this with such an overwhelming amount of primary evidence is that the study can seem daunting to the reader and be visually monotonous. Such is not the case here. The book is handsomely produced with numerous half-tone illustrations, both of selected individual pages from the documents and of portraits of the...


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pp. 654-655
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Archived 2009
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