Erhard Altdorfer

Landscape first emerged as an independent pictorial subject in prints, drawings, and paintings of the Danube School—a group of artists active in Germany and Austria in the first half of the sixteenth century. Trained in the workshop of his older brother, Albrecht, a central figure among the Danube artists, Erhard Altdorfer was a very early adopter of the genre. This drawing depicts an imaginary landscape with an enormous, highly stylized tree, craggy mountains, and a river, which winds toward a small town in the distance. Altdorfer structured the composition using tightly spaced parallel- and cross-hatching, as well as looser, spiraling lines, which describe the clouds and shrubbery.

Erhard Altdorfer
German, 1480–after 1561
Mountainous Landscape with a Bridge, ca. 1530
Pen and black ink on red prepared paper
Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, INV. NO. C 1900-74
© Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden