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Storytelling in Miniature

Augustin Hirschvogel
German, 1503–1553

Landscape with Two Villages Burning

Engraving and etching, 1545
1 3/8 x 7 7/16 in.
Frederick B. and Kate L. Shoemaker Fund, 1950.289

Augustin Hirshvogel produced 35 small-scale landscapes as part of an output of approximately 300 prints. His printmaking was perhaps a result of a misfortune not of his making. He originally trained as a stained glass painter in his father’s workshop. Unfortunately for him, Hirschvogel’s native city of Nuremberg accepted the Protestant Reformation in 1525, resulting in a rapid decline in demand for stained glass because of Protestant reticence over religious imagery in churches. In efforts to sustain himself and his family, Hirschvogel eventually moved to Vienna and developed skills as a mathematician and cartographer. It was as a cartographer that he began making prints. Interestingly, he developed a new surveying system involving triangulation that gave him notoriety.