Believed to have worked in the atelier of Dürer, he certainly spent most of his working life in Nuremburg where he was documented as an official painter to the City Council in 1532. Pencz’s reputation rests both on his engravings and his achievements as a painter. As a printmaker he is known as one of the ‘Little Masters’, on account of the small scale of all their prints, along with the brothers Sebald (1500–1540) and Barthel Beham (1502–1540). Pencz is thought by some to have visited Italy both in the late 1520s and around 1540 and certainly his surviving drawings and prints show a knowledge of Giulio Romano (1499–1546) in Mantua and even Michelangelo’s (1475–1564) Last Judgment in Rome. As a painter, for some reason, he blossomed after 1540 when he turned his back on compositional paintings such as the now destroyed Fall of Phaeton ceiling decoration for the home of Lienhard Hirschvogel and the Scenes from the Passion painted for King Sigismund I of Poland in 1538 (Wawel Cathedral, Krakow). Instead he focused on a series of portraits which are original and exact representations of patrician Nuremburg society.
Books on Georg Pencz
Katrin Dyballa, Georg Pencz. Künstler zu Nürnberg, Berlin, 2014.
Larry Silver, ‘Book Review of Georg Pencz. Kunstler zu Nurnberg by Katrin Dyballa’ in Historians of Netherlandish Art Reviews, April 2016.
H.G. Gmelin ‘Pencz, Georg’ in J. Turner, ed. The Dictionary of Art, XXIV, London, 1998.
Karel van Mander, The Lives of the Illustrious Netherlandish and German Painters, 1603/4, trans. Hessel Miedema, Doornspijk, 1994.