About the artist:
b. about 1450 possibly Freising, Germany, d. after 1504 possibly Landshut, Germany German draughtsman, engraver and painter. The signature Mair appears on all but one of his twenty-two engravings and on one of three woodcuts. The rest of his posthumously acquired name derives from the Landshut coat of arms on the engraving Hour of Death (1499; Lehrs, no. 19), which presumably indicates that Mair was working there. Nine other engravings are dated the same year, the only date to appear on any of his engraved work. Former identification as Nicolaus Alexander Mair, a painter in Landshut documented in 1492, 1499 and 1514, has proved untenable. None of Mair's other dated works is earlier than 1495 or later than 1504, years in which he was also associated with Munich and Freising. Stylistic evidence suggesting he assisted Jan Polack c. 1490 in painting an altarpiece for St Peter in Munich tallies with an entry in the Munich tax records from 1490 that lists a 'Mair Maler von Freising'. In 1495 he executed a lunette panel with scenes from the Life of Christ for the sacristy of Freising Cathedral. He may also have worked temporarily in northern Italy, producing an Ecce homo (1502; Trent Castle) and two scenes of a martyrdom (Milan, Mus. Poldi Pezzoli). 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.
b. about 1450 possibly Freising, Germany, d. after 1504 possibly Landshut, Germany German draughtsman, engraver and painter. The signature Mair appears on all but one of his twenty-two engravings and on one of three woodcuts. The rest of his