Hans Rottenhammer the Elder (German, 1625)


The son of the master of the Imperial stables, Johann (or Hans) Rottenhammer received his artistic training in the 1580’s from the court painter in Munich, Hans Donauer.
In 1588 he undertook a trip to Italy, where he was to remain until 1606.
After a period in Treviso, where he worked in the studio of Lodewijk Toeput, known as Pozzoserrato, Rottenhammer settled in Venice for about four years.
This was followed by a brief period spent in Rome, where he lived until 1595, but by the following year he was back in Venice.
He spent the next ten years in Venice, marrying a Venetian woman and establishing a successful career as a painter of small-scale mythological and religious scenes, usually on copper.
Accepted into the Venetian painter’s guild in 1603, Rottenhammer travelled widely throughout Northern Italy, and received commissions from, among others, Ferdinando Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, and the Emperor Rudolf II in Prague.
Many of his painted compositions were also reproduced as engravings by printmakers such as Lucas Kilian and Raphael Sadeler the Elder.In 1606 Rottenhammer returned to Germany, settling in Augsburg and painting several altarpieces for churches there and in Munich.
In 1609 he was commissioned by Count Ernst von Scharmburg to paint the Goldener Saal of the Schloss Borg, near Hannover.
He was also active as a fresco painter, decorating the facade of the Hopfer house in Augsburg in 1611.
Other commissions included paintings for the ducal palace in Munich, completed in 1616, and the town hall of Augsburg.
Rottenhammer also continued to paint cabinet pictures of mythological subjects, often on copper, works which remained popular with collectors well into the 18th century.