Isaac Major

Dates/ German, 1588 - after 1642
BornFrankfurt am Main, Germany
DiedVienna, Austria

Isaac Major's life and work are largely unresearched. The son of a goldsmith who emigrated to Frankfurt from the south Netherlands, Major seems to have practiced the graphic arts exclusively; no paintings by him are known. During the first decade of the 1600s, he was in Prague, where he probably trained with Roelandt Savery. Savery's influence on Major's art was profound and lifelong. In the 1610s Major spent time in Vienna, Prague, and Poznan, in current-day Poland. During the 1620s he appears to have settled permanently in Vienna, for he was still recorded there in 1642. Major's twenty-one etchings of the war between Austria and the Ottoman Turks from 1592 to 1606 contain topographically accurate views of Hungary, indicating that he must have traveled there. He is known to have returned to Frankfurt in 1633. Along with prints and drawings of his own invention, Major employed colored wash to create landscapes and landscape prints after Savery and Pieter Stevens. His drawings include a signed series of twenty-five pen-and-ink landscapes now in Vienna's Graphische Sammlung Albertina.