BEHAM, Hans Sebald
German Northern Renaissance Engraver, 1500-1550
Hans Sebald Beham (1500 ?C 1550) was a German printmaker who did his best work as an engraver, and was also a designer of woodcuts and a painter and miniaturist. He is one of the most important of the "Little Masters", the group of German artists making old master prints in the generation after Durer.
Beham is best known as a prolific printmaker, producing approximately 252 engravings, 18 etchings and 1500 woodcuts, including woodcut book illustrations. He worked extensively on tiny, highly detailed, engravings, many as small as postage stamps, placing him in the German printmaking school known as the "Little Masters" from the size of their prints. These works he produced and published himself, whilst his much larger woodcuts were mostly commissioned work. The engravings found a ready market among German bourgeois collectors, but were not much seen in Italy. He also made prints for use as playing cards, wallpaper, coats of arms, and designs for other artists, including many designs for stained or painted glass. He also illuminated two prayer books and painted a table top (now in the Louvre ) for Cardinal Albrecht, Archbishop of Mainz.