Although Adam Elsheimer (1578-1610) painted on an almost miniature scale and died very young from, it was said, the overwork that resulted from the intensity of his methods, his paintings remain some of the most strangely poetical in the history of Western art. They were also extremely influential: Elsheimer's often recondite subject matter, his astonishing ability to render night scenes, his uniquely lyrical use of landscape deeply affected generations of artists; one of the first to fall under his spell was Rubens. Most of what we know about Elsheimer's life and sadly curtailed career comes from the biograpies reprinted in this volume, which also includes personal reminiscences by friends and other painters. Unavailable for many years, these writings bring Elsheimer's extraordinary art to life. A new introduction by Claire Pace sets the paintings and these writings into the context of their times.
Adam Elsheimer was born in Frankfurt in 1578. An early training in design workshops there saw him under the influence of Durer and Altdorfer. After a journey to Venice he settled in Rome, where he lived until his death in 1610, earning a reputation, though not the income, of the most important painters of his time. Claire Pace lectured for several years in art history at the University of Glasgow, where she is now Senior Honorary Research Fellow. She has published on aspects of 17th-century French and Italian art, especially Claude, Poussin and Bellori. The translations are by Keith Andrews, the foremost expert on Elsheimer until his death.