MICHAEL WOLGEMUT (WOHLGEMUTH, WOLGEMUTH)
A painter, a woodcutter, an illustrator and a graphic artist
Michael Wolgemut, born in Nuremberg in 1434 (and deceased in the same city in 1519). A son of the painter Valentin Wolgemut, he studied in his father’s workshop, and then followed the custom of travelling through German lands to acquire experience and become acquainted with the art in other parts of Germany. During his travels he may have visited the Netherlands. In 1465, he started working in the workshop of Hans Pleydenwurff, a painter and an illustrator living in Nuremberg. In 1472, after Pleydenwurff’s death, he married his widow and became owner of the largest painting workshop in Nuremberg. In 1486, Anton Koberger, famous publisher and owner of a large typography, brought there his godson, 15-year-old Albrecht Dürer. The latter passed three years in Wolgemut’s workshop and was forever grateful to his first teacher.
Wolgemut’s workshop created altar compositions and illustrations for major publications. In 1491, it illustrated Stephan Fridolin’s Schatzbehalter der wahren Reichtümer des Heils, in 1493 Hartmann Schedel’s World Chronicle (both books were published by Anton Koberger). All Wolgemut’s apprentices worked on the World Chronicle, but his stepson and co-owner of the workshop, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, was his most important helper.