Daniel Hopfer

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Martin Luther by Daniel Hopfer 1523, Martin Luther's House, Wittenberg Martin Luther by Daniel Hopfer 1523, Martin Luther's House, Wittenberg.jpg
Martin Luther by Daniel Hopfer 1523, Martin Luther's House, Wittenberg
Daniel Hopfer: Gib Frid - three old women beating a devil on the ground. Before the Funck number. Three old women beating a Devil on the ground.jpg
Daniel Hopfer: Gib Frid - three old women beating a devil on the ground. Before the Funck number.

Daniel Hopfer (circa 1470 in Kaufbeuren – 1536 in Augsburg) was a German artist who is widely believed to have been the first to use etching in printmaking, at the end of the fifteenth century. He also worked in woodcut.

Kaufbeuren Place in Bavaria, Germany

Kaufbeuren is an independent town in the Regierungsbezirk of Swabia, Bavaria. The town is completely enclaved within the district of Ostallgäu.

Augsburg Place in Bavaria, Germany

Augsburg is a city in Swabia, Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and regional seat of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is the third-largest city in Bavaria with a population of 300,000 inhabitants, with 885,000 in its metropolitan area.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.


decorated steedarmor of Daniel Hopfer Pferdeharnisch.JPG
decorated steedarmor of Daniel Hopfer


The son of Bartholomäus Hopfer, a painter, and his wife Anna Sendlerin, Daniel moved to Augsburg early in his life, and acquired citizenship there in 1493.

In 1497 he married Justina Grimm, sister of the Augsburg publisher, physician and druggist Sigismund Grimm. The couple had three sons, Jörg, Hieronymus and Lambert, the last two of whom carried on their father's profession of etching, Hieronymus in Nuremberg and Lambert in Augsburg. The two sons of Jörg, Georg and Daniel (junior), also became distinguished etchers, patronised by no less than the Emperor Maximilian II, whose successor, Rudolf II, raised Georg to the nobility.

<i>Married Single Other</i> television series

Married Single Other is a British television drama created and written by Peter Souter. The series is based on the lives of group of people who are either married, single or "other", other being defined as in a relationship. It began airing on Monday 22 February 2010 on ITV. The drama series was later screened on STV from February 2012. The series was filmed on location in various areas of Leeds, while Left Bank Pictures television studios annexed to The Leeds Studios were used for interior shooting.

Nuremberg Place in Bavaria, Germany

Nuremberg is the second-largest city of the German federal state of Bavaria after its capital Munich, and its 511,628 (2016) inhabitants make it the 14th largest city in Germany. On the Pegnitz River and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it lies in the Bavarian administrative region of Middle Franconia, and is the largest city and the unofficial capital of Franconia. Nuremberg forms a continuous conurbation with the neighbouring cities of Fürth, Erlangen and Schwabach with a total population of 787,976 (2016), while the larger Nuremberg Metropolitan Region has approximately 3.5 million inhabitants. The city lies about 170 kilometres (110 mi) north of Munich. It is the largest city in the East Franconian dialect area.

Nobility privileged social class

Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately under royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy. Nobility possesses more acknowledged privileges and higher social status than most other classes in society. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be largely honorary, and vary by country and era. As referred to in the Medieval chivalric motto "noblesse oblige", nobles can also carry a lifelong duty to uphold various social responsibilities, such as honorable behavior, customary service, or leadership positions. Membership in the nobility, including rights and responsibilities, is typically hereditary.

Daniel was trained as an etcher of armour. There are only two proven examples of his own work on armour: a shield from 1536 now in the Royal Armoury museum (La Real Armería) of the Royal Palace of Madrid and a sword in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum of Nuremberg. An Augsburg horse armour in the German Historical Museum, Berlin, dating to between 1512 and 1515, is decorated with motifs from Hopfer's etchings and woodcuts, but this is no evidence that Hopfer himself worked on it.

Armour or armor is a protective covering that is used to prevent damage from being inflicted to an object, individual or vehicle by direct contact weapons or projectiles, usually during combat, or from damage caused by a potentially dangerous environment or activity. Personal armour is used to protect soldiers and war animals. Vehicle armour is used on warships and armoured fighting vehicles.

Royal Palace of Madrid Royal Palace of Madrid

The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family at the city of Madrid, although now only used for state ceremonies. The palace has 135,000 square metres (1,450,000 sq ft) of floor space and contains 3,418 rooms. It is the largest functioning Royal Palace and the largest by floor area in Europe.

Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nuremberg museum about German National cultural history

The Germanisches Nationalmuseum is a museum in Nuremberg, Germany. Founded in 1852, it houses a large collection of items relating to German culture and art extending from prehistoric times through to the present day. The Germanisches Nationalmuseum is Germany's largest museum of cultural history. Out of its total holding of some 1.3 million objects, approximately 25,000 are exhibited.

Three German Soldiers Armed with Halberds, c. 1510. An original etched iron plate from which prints would be made. National Gallery of Art Daniel Hopfer, Three German Soldiers Armed with Halberds, c. 1510, NGA 159581.jpg
Three German Soldiers Armed with Halberds, c. 1510. An original etched iron plate from which prints would be made. National Gallery of Art

The etching of metals with acid was known in Europe from at least 1400, but the elaborate decoration of armour, in Germany anyway, was an art probably imported from Italy around the end of the 15th century—little earlier than the birth of etching as a printmaking technique. Although the first extant dated etchings are the three by Albrecht Dürer of 1515, and despite the fact that none of his works are dated, stylistic evidence suggests that Daniel Hopfer was using this technology as early as 1500. It is often thought that Hopfer taught Dürer the technique. [1]

Albrecht Dürer German Renaissance artist

Albrecht Dürer sometimes spelt in English as Durer or Duerer, without umlaut, was a painter, printmaker, and theorist of the German Renaissance. Born in Nuremberg, Dürer established his reputation and influence across Europe when he was still in his twenties due to his high-quality woodcut prints. He was in communication with the major Italian artists of his time, including Raphael, Giovanni Bellini and Leonardo da Vinci, and from 1512 he was patronized by Emperor Maximilian I. Dürer is commemorated by both the Lutheran and Episcopal Churches.

Daniel Hopfer: Mary with Jesus, an example of the "Hopfer style". Note the Funck number lower left: "133". Mary with Jesus.jpg
Daniel Hopfer: Mary with Jesus, an example of the "Hopfer style". Note the Funck number lower left: "133".

The Hopfers prospered in Augsburg, and by 1505 Daniel owned a house in the city centre. He sat on the committee of the Augsburg guild of smiths, which at this time included painters and etchers, probably because these crafts were uniquely connected in the town, one of Europe's principal manufacturing places of arms and armour.

Daniel died in Augsburg in 1536. His achievement was widely recognized during his time, and in 1590 he was posthumously named as the inventor of the art of etching in the imperial patent of nobility bestowed upon his grandson Georg.


Hieronymus Hopfer: Three ornate vessels, probably a model for goldsmiths. With the Funck number, lower right: "68". Three ornate vessels (2).jpg
Hieronymus Hopfer: Three ornate vessels, probably a model for goldsmiths. With the Funck number, lower right: "68".

Daniel Hopfer's early etchings were done in line-work, but he and his sons soon developed more sophisticated techniques, referred to by armour historians as the Hopfer style. Applied to prints, this produced silhouetted designs on a black ground, doubtless by multiple bitings of the plates. The technically demanding procedure seems to have been both delicate and labour-intensive, and no other artists are known to have used this exact method. Their plates were all iron, rather than the copper that the Italians later introduced once appropriate acids had been discovered. Iron plates had to be handled carefully to be kept free of rust, which could develop quickly from even a fingerprint. [2]

None of the Hopfer family was a trained artist, or a natural draughtsman: their designs show a certain naïveté that never gained an artistic following. But the extraordinary diversity of the Hopfers' works have made them collectors' items. From religious prints to designs for goldsmiths, secular subjects such as peasants, military figures (especially Landsknechts), portraits of contemporary worthies, mytholological and folkloric themes, the sheer range of the Hopfers' productions are both remarkable and unique, designed to appeal to a clientele far wider than the metalsmiths who bought his patterns to create their wares. However, the Hopfer family did not hesitate to plagiarize the work of their contemporaries: of Daniel's 230 known prints, 14 are copies of other masters, mainly Mantegna, whilst only a minority of Hieronymus' 82 plates are his original work—no less than 21 are copies of Durer's works, and around 30 others are copies from Jacopo de' Barbari, Raimondi and Altdorfer among others.

In the next century, a distant relative of the Hopfers, David Funck (1642–1705), a bookseller of Nuremberg, acquired 230 of the Hopfers' iron plates, and reprinted these under the title Operae Hopferianae, adding a somewhat crudely scratched number, known as the Funck number, to each one, thus creating a second state of the hitherto unretouched plates.

A further print run of 92 plates was made in 1802 by the publishers C.W. Silberberg of Frankfurt under the title Opera Hopferiana. The quality of the prints is a tribute to the care with which the Hopfer family maintained these rust-prone plates, many of which are in the Berlin print cabinet today.

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Etching intaglio printmaking technique

Etching is traditionally the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio (incised) in the metal. In modern manufacturing, other chemicals may be used on other types of material. As a method of printmaking, it is, along with engraving, the most important technique for old master prints, and remains in wide use today. In a number of modern variants such as microfabrication etching and photochemical milling it is a crucial technique in much modern technology, including circuit boards.

Printmaking process through which an artistic print is created

Printmaking is the process of creating artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints that have an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable of producing multiples of the same piece, which is called a print. Each print produced is not considered a "copy" but rather is considered an "original". This is because typically each print varies to an extent due to variables intrinsic to the printmaking process, and also because the imagery of a print is typically not simply a reproduction of another work but rather is often a unique image designed from the start to be expressed in a particular printmaking technique. A print may be known as an impression. Printmaking is not chosen only for its ability to produce multiple impressions, but rather for the unique qualities that each of the printmaking processes lends itself to.

Aquatint etching technique

Aquatint is an intaglio printmaking technique, a variant of etching that only produces areas of tone rather than lines. For this reason it has mostly been used in conjunction with etching, to give outlines. It has also been used historically to print in colour, both by printing with multiple plates in different colours, and by making monochrome prints that were then hand-coloured with watercolour.

<i>Nuremberg Chronicle</i> book by Hartmann Schedel

The Nuremberg Chronicle is an illustrated biblical paraphrase and world history that follows the story of human history related in the Bible; it includes the histories of a number of important Western cities. Written in Latin by Hartmann Schedel, with a version in German, translation by Georg Alt, it appeared in 1493. It is one of the best-documented early printed books—an incunabulum—and one of the first to successfully integrate illustrations and text.

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Viscosity printing is a multi-color printmaking technique that incorporates principles of relief printing and intaglio printing. It was pioneered by Stanley William Hayter.

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  1. Cohen, Brian D. "Freedom and Resistance in the Act of Engraving (or, Why Dürer Gave up on Etching)," Art in Print Vol. 7 No. 3 (September-October 2017), 18.
  2. Bindewald, Maik. "An Undiscovered State of Albrecht Dürer's Large Cannon, Art in Print Vol. 5 No. 5 (January-February 2016), 6.