DANUBE SCHOOL Master of the
An art style centred on nature and landscape, which was designated "Danube School" or "Style of the Danube School" developed shortly before 1500 between Regensburg, Passau and Vienna as well as in the Bavarian and Austrian Alpine regions, with Innsbruck and Salzburg as the focal points. The Style of the Danube School had its origins in the Innsbruck studio of the miniaturist Jörg Kölderer (?–1540), in the representation of people by Jörg Breus the Elder (ca 1475–1537), in the early works of Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472–1553) and of Rueland Frueauf the Younger (documented 1497–documented 1545). It reached its culmination with the two outstanding masters Albrecht Altdorfer (ca 1480–1538) and Wolf Huber (ca 1485–1553).
The detailed perspectival depiction of landscapes and their relation to animated, moving figures indicate a new artistic conception of the world, which bears the imprint of humanism. The artists explored the experience of space, the phenomena of light and the colour values in their pictures and thereby created fantastic, bizarre moods.
Cardinal Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg
This impressive half-length picture presents an almost frontal view of the Salzburg Prince-Archbishop. His clothing is dark-blue, almost black, and his red cap is set off against the overcast, bluish-grey sky. He has a stern and dignified look, and is gazing into the far distance. His right hand rests on a stone balustrade, his left hand is slightly raised. In the background left, the medieval residence town of Salzburg is visible in a section of a landscape: the Romanesque cathedral, the late-Gothic Church of St. Francis, the fortress and the town wall as well as the summit of the Untersberg.
Cardinal Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg (1468–1540), who had received a humanistic education, was elected Archbishop of Salzburg in 1519, and already represented the modern type of Renaissance prince. He was a sponsor of the fine arts, commissioned numerous works and cultivated close contacts with the most eminent artists of his time: one of his favourite painters was Hans Burgkmair the Elder (1473–1531) from Augsburg; in 1518, Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) painted his portrait and Albrecht Altdorfer was in constant contact with Salzburg, while he was active in Regensburg. These may constitute points of reference for an attribution of the unsigned painting. Its quality suggests an eminent artist from Altdorfer's circle or the master himself. Wolf Huber or his circle are other names that keep recurring in the literature.
Gabriele Groschner, Thomas Habersatter, Erika Mayr-Oehring (Ed.): Masterworks. Residenzgalerie Salzburg. Salzburg 2002, p. 92