Mielich, Hans
German, 1516 - 1573
Muelich, Hans


The year of Hans Mielich's (Muelich, Müelich) birth is not documented, but a date of 1516 can be deduced from an illuminated self-portrait of 1571 in which his age is given as fifty-five. His first teacher was almost certainly his father Wolfgang Mielich, although he was also influenced by Ludwig Refinger and Bartel Beham. Around 1536 Hans Mielich moved to Regensburg and his earliest paintings, such as the Crucifixion, dated 1536, are dependent on the example of that city's leading painter, Albrecht Altdorfer. By 1539 or at the latest 1540, Mielich was back in Munich. Shortly afterwards he journeyed to Italy where the experience of High Renaissance and Mannerist art, Michelangelo in particular, had a decisive influence upon him.

Returning to Munich probably in 1542, Mielich became a master in the painter's guild in 1543. Mielich soon became court painter to Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria and one of the artist's earliest depictions of him is the splendid portrait dated 1545. Mielich was also an excellent miniaturist and one of his major accomplishments was the hundreds of illuminations that accompany the deluxe manuscripts of the Motets of Cyprian de Rore of 1557/1559 and the Penitential Psalms of Orlando di Lasso of 1560/1571, both composers working at Albrecht's court. He also painted portraits of court figures and nobility.

The last major painting of Mielich's career was the high altar of the church of Our Beautiful Lady in Ingolstadt, commissioned by Albrecht V in conjunction with the centennial of the University of Ingolstadt. Containing more than eighty paintings by Mielich and his workshop, the altar's iconographic program, devised with the help of the university's theologians, depicts Christ as teacher, helper and redeemer, and scenes from the life of the Virgin. The altarpiece was completed in 1572 and on 10 March 1573 Hans Mielich died in Munich. Painter, miniaturist, and draftsman, Mielich was the dominant painter in Munich in the second half of the century.

[This is an edited version of the artist's biography published, or to be published, in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]


Röttger, Bernhard Hermann. Der Maler Hans Mielich. Munich, 1925.
Strieder, Peter. "Muelich (Mielich), Hans." In Kindlers 1967, 4:523-526.
Hand, John Oliver, with the assistance of Sally E. Mansfield. German Paintings of the Fifteenth through Seventeenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1993: 146.

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