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Storytelling in Miniature

Barthel Beham
German, 1502–1540

Riding Standard Bearer and Foot Soldier

Engraving, 1521
2 5/16 x 1 9/16 in.
Gift of Geoffrey R. Bennett, 1962.44

Barthel Beham was a native of Nuremberg and was strongly influenced, like his brother Hans Sebald Beham, by the most prominent Nuremberg artist of the day, Albrecht Dürer. It is possible, but not substantiated, that Beham trained in Dürer’s workshop. Barthel Beham’s first dated engravings, done in 1520 when he was 18, demonstrate a remarkable technical virtuosity and an interest in complex figural poses.

Through 1530 Barthel was a very active engraver, but in the service of Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria he worked increasingly as a portrait painter. He died in 1540 while on an extended trip to Italy where he is believed to have worked in Rome and Bologna in printmaker Marcantonio Raimondi’s workshop.