Bartholomäus Spranger The Sufferings of Christ
The Sufferings of Christ
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Bartholomäus Spranger ( Antwerp 1546 - Prague 1611 )

Bartholomäus (Bartholomaeus) Spranger was a Flemish Mannerist painter, draughtsman, and etcher. He was born in Antwerp and active in Italy, Austria, and Bohemia. With Hans von Aachen and Josef Heinz he was one of the most important artists at the Prague court of Emperor Rudolf II. In 1565 Spranger travelled to Italy, staying for some months in Milan and Parma, before going to Rome. There he entered the service of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, for whom he also worked at Caprarola, and later of Pope Pius V. On the recommendation of his compatriot the sculptor Giambologna, he took an appointment at the court of the Habsburg Emperor Maximilian II in Vienna (1575). After Maximilian's death in 1576, Spranger was taken into the employ of his successor Rudolf II, and moved with the imperial court to Prague. He painted mythologies and learned allegories, often featuring female nudes, in a refined and mannered style that owed much to the elegant mode of figure drawing of Correggio and Parmigianino (Triumph of Wisdom, c.1591; Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum). While in Rome, Spranger had made the acquaintance of Karel van Mander, and it was through van Mander that his style was introduced to Goltzius and thus formed the basis of Haarlem Mannerism.

Spranger is represented in the following collections: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Koninklijk Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; The Louvre, Paris; Musée des Beaux Arts et d'Archéologie de Besançon, France; National Gallery, London; Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan; State Museums of Florence; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, amongst others.