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Bartholomaeus Spranger

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Bartholomaeus Spranger
16th century
(Antwerp, Belgium, 1546 - circa 1611, Prague, Czech Republic)

Although Spranger was born and trained in Antwerp, it was a long stay in Rome that determined his stylistic direction. For ten years he participated in the leading workshop of Federico Zuccaro while painting independently for such illustrious patrons as the Farnese family and Pope Pius V. Spranger was also deeply affected by the work of Parmigianino and Correggio. Returning to the North in 1575, he continued to explore a combination of late-century Roman design with the supernatural elegance of the earlier Emilians. His reputation consolidated, Spranger was called to the court of Emperor Maximilian II in Vienna. After Maximilian’s death, he moved to Prague as court painter to Emperor Rudolf II. Highly intellectual, obliquely sensual, and often witty, Spranger’s art epitomizes Rudolfine taste, in turn the “international Mannerism” that is the last consistent expression of the dominant 16th-century style. Despite the court’s preference for mythological and allegorical works, Spranger did realize a number of paintings of religious subjects.

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