When veneration of the late Albrecht Dürer’s art led to a flurry of activity copying his paintings, drawings, and prints in the late 1500s, Hans Hoffmann was the leading representative of the “Dürer Renaissance.” Hoffmann’s imitations were so admired that a biographer described him as “a diligent painter . . . who copied Albrecht Dürer so assiduously that many of his works were sold as Dürer originals.” Little is known of Hoffmann’s training. He probably visited the Netherlands before settling in Nuremberg, where he is first mentioned in 1576. He specialized in watercolor and bodycolor nature studies, many copied after or inspired by Dürer’s works in a Nuremberg private collection. Hoffmann’s nature studies have earned him consideration as one of Germany’s first still-life painters. He often made several copies and different versions of a single drawing, signing one with his own monogram and another with Dürer’s. In 1584 he moved to Munich to work for Duke William V of Bavaria. In 1585 Emperor Rudolf II named him court painter and he moved to Prague, the seat of the imperial court. His oil paintings, of which few survive, seem to have comprised primarily religious subjects and portraits.
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