Ulrich Fugger – Hans Maier

Little is known of this painter. He was from the Austrian Tyrol and was influenced by Strigel, Schaüfelin, and Amberger. Max J. Friedlander, in the Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft, 1895, has made the latest reconstruction of his work, listing twenty pictures by him, most of which have hereto fore been labeled as of the School of Bernhard Strigel. The earliest of these which is dated is of the year 1519, the latest 1529. Our picture is number fourteen in Dr. Friedlander’s list. On the back of the panel is the following inscription:

DOMINI MDXXV

ANNO CVRENTE xxxv

ETATIS

A replica, evidently by the master but without inscription or date, is in the collection of Count Fugger Babenhausen in Augsburg.

Ulrich Fugger was of the famous and wealthy family of merchants and bankers in Augsburg. Originally linen weavers, they were later interested in mines and in trading in spices and silks in many of the great cities of Europe. Ulrich, the father of the original of our picture, and his two brothers George and Jacob were ennobled by Maximilian, to whom they had made large loans, and the family contributed great sums to the election of Charles V to the imperial throne in 1519. At this time the representatives of the house were Jacob and his two nephews Ulrich, whose likeness we have, and Hieronymus, both sons of Ulrich the elder. Our picture was painted, as the inscription says, in the thirty-fifth year of the sitter’s age, which was also his last, as he was born in 1490 and died in 1525. The portrait shows the features of a shrewd, hard-headed man who did not allow any emotions he might have to interfere with his decisions.