Johan Gregor van der Schardt was one of the first of a group of successful Netherlandish artists who made their careers in foreign lands, never to return home. He was born in 1530 in Nymwegen, The Netherlands, but nothing is known of his early training. By 1560, however, he was working in Bologna, Italy. By this time, van der Schardt had developed a reputation for making small copies of famous larger works from antiquity. Throughout his career, he worked independently, never attaining a position as a court artist. Much of his documented work, however, was created for courtly patrons, including Emperor Maximilian II of Vienna, his son, Rudolf II, and King Frederick II of Denmark. Giorgio Vasari, the biographer of artists, praised van der Schardt as an excellent sculptor, a rare accolade for this fiercely patriotic Italian writer to give to a foreign-born artist.