Bust of a Man in a Hat Gazing Upward
Famous even in his lifetime, Martin Schongauer shaped and revitalized German art, integrating it with the achievements of the great Netherlandish masters. While he elevated the engraving technique to a pinnacle of perfection--surpassed only by Albrecht Dürer--Schongauer was also a gifted panel painter and draftsman. The exceedingly rare "Man in a Hat Gazing Upward" is one of few drawings whose attribution to Schongauer is universally embraced. His versatile pen lines of parallel and cross-hatched strokes, dots, and curliques delineate texture and form. The stubble of the aging face, for example, contrasts with the soft collar of fur, in turn offset by the parallel arcs of the hat brim. The physiognomy appears to be that of a character head rather than a portrait; the modeling of the facial features links the drawing to Schongauer's later engravings.
Martin Schongauer (German, Colmar ca. 1435/50–1491 Breisach)
Martin Schongauer, also known as Martin Schön ("Martin beautiful") or Hübsch Martin ("pretty Martin") by his contemporaries, was an engraver and painter. He was the most important printmaker north of the Alps before Albrecht Dürer. Famous even in his lifetime, Martin Schongauer elevated the engraving technique to a perfection surpassed only by Albrecht Dürer. His versatile pen lines of parallel and cross-hatched strokes, dots, delineate texture and form. Schongauer was born in about 1440 in Colmar, Alsace, probably the third of the four sons of Caspar Schongauer, a goldsmith from Augsburg who taught his son the art of engraving. Colmar, now in France, is where Schongauer established at Colmar a very important school of engraving, out of which grew the "Little Masters" of the succeeding generation, and a large group of Nuremberg artists. The main work of Schongauer's life was the production of a large number of beautiful engravings, which were largely sold, not only in Germany but also in Italy and even in England and Spain.