Under Dürer’s star

A fan of German book illumination? Don’t miss this Alumina article about Nikolaus Glockendon, one of the foremost artists of his time.

Glockendon Hours, 1534

Looking first to the art of Albrecht Dürer and then to the lesson of Simon Bening, the illuminator Nikolaus Glockendon, born into a family of artists in Nuremberg, was the main exponent of the local school in the early decades of the sixteenth century, winning prestigious commissions and the protection of the powerful cardinal Albert of Mainz.

Nikolaus’s first works date to the 1510s and are still steeped in the style of his father and brother, as well as being influenced by Jacob Elsner. His collaboration with the high prelate had begun back in 1524, when Glockendon completed the Missale Hallense of the Hofbibliothek in Achaffenburg (ms. 10), of which 10 pages are preserved in the Mittelrheinische Landesmuseum in Mainz.

Indeed it was thanks to his contact with the cardinal that Nikolaus began to look more carefully at great Flemish art, which perhaps Ulrich Taler of Augsburg (1497-1520/25) had previously begun to introduce into southern Germany. It was without doubt Simon Bening who represented his most precious source of influence.

Moreover, the Fleming was known even in Nuremberg, as is shown by one of his Books of Hours now in Stockholm (Kunglige Bibliotheket, ms. A 227), made around 1515 for Melchior Pfinzig, rector of the church of Saint Sebaldus, and another from 1511 formerly in the possession of the Imhoff family.

Flowers Book of Hours by Simon Bening

For this reason, in the beautiful Book of Hours of the Biblioteca Estense in Modena (ms. Est. 136 = alfa. U. 6. 7), again carried out for the cardinal in 1534, Nikolaus found himself again using prototypes used by Bening in another Book of Hours for the same person, now at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles ms. Ludwig IX 19 (83.ML.115).

Nikolaus died in that same year. But his artistic patrimony was not lost. Six of his eleven sons carried on the art and the tried and tested solutions of their father.

Text written by Daniele Guernelli for Alumina — Pagine Miniate.

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