Mair von Landshut

Datesabout 1450 - 1504

Long after he died, scholars named this artist Mair von Landshut using the signatures and inscriptions on his fewer than fifty works. Almost nothing is known of his life, but his last dated drawing was from 1504. The Munich tax records of 1490 list a "Mair maler von Freising" (Mair, painter from Freising), and the style of altarpiece panels in a Munich church from around 1490 corroborates his presence there. He painted a lunette panel with Passion Scenes for the sacristy of Freising Cathedral in 1495, and he also may have worked in northern Italy.

Mair's artistic importance lies with his technical inventiveness on paper. He printed and drew on hand-tinted paper, then brushed on white and yellow highlights. His brilliant atmospheric and coloristic effects appeared nearly a decade before Lucas Cranach the Elder and another artist invented the visually rich chiaroscuro woodcut technique. Mair's colored prints also may have inspired Albrecht Altdorfer's drawings on colored paper.