b. about 1480 possibly Worms, Germany, d. about 1551 probably Antwerp, Belgium
One of the most important sculptors of the German Renaissance, Conrat Meit was influenced by antique culture and by the German tradition of detailed naturalism. Meit probably trained in Lucas Cranach the Elder's workshop, and by 1511 he was working in Wittenberg for the Saxon Elector Friedrich the Wise. This learned patron also employed Cranach and Albrecht Dürer. In 1514 Meit was named official court sculptor to Margaret of Austria, regent of the Netherlands. Working in Mechelen (Malines) in Flanders, he created small objects for Margaret's Kunstkammer, or collector's cabinet, working with equal skill in boxwood, alabaster, and bronze. His specialty was the small portrait bust, but in 1526 he undertook his first monumental project: the tombs of Margaret, Philibert, and Philibert's mother, Margaret of Burgundy. Meit was commissioned to carve the faces and hands of all of the tombs' figures, while assistants helped with the rest of the project. Upon the successful completion of this work, he received commissions for other large-scale tomb projects and statues. In 1534 Meit bought a house in Antwerp, where he later joined the Guild of Saint Luke as a wood carver.
Head of a Man
German, about 1515