Wenzel Jamnitzer


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[Wenzel Jamnitzer]: “Goldsmith, designer, etcher and inventor of scientific instruments.. Born Vienna 1508, died Nuremberg 1585. Stems from a long line of goldsmiths. Wenzel, with his brother Albrecht (d. 1555), was trained by their father, Hans the Elder. He became a citizen of Nuremberg and master in the goldsmiths’ guild in 1534, and lived and worked for the next fifty years in the house in the Zisselgasse (now Albrecht-Dürer-Str. 17), in which his parents died in 1548 and 1549. Until 1550 he worked in collaboration with his brother Albrecht and after that with his sons, Hans, Abraham and Wenzel (the last of whom was killed in Paris, on St Bartholomew’s Night 1572), and perhaps also his sons-in-law, Hans Straub, Martin Holweck and Valentin Maler. Wenzel was city seal-cutter from 1543, and served in various capacities on the city council, becoming finally a member of the inner cabinet in 1573.

His career was marked with a rare distinction, the granting of a life-long annuity by the Emperor Rudolf II, as a recognition for the service rendered to the Habsburg House by the Jamnitzer family over the past century. He was the leading German goldsmith of the Renaissance: as well as working for the patrician families of Nuremberg, he produced pieces for successive emperors, from Charles V to Rudolf II, and a great patron of the time, the Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol.
With his highly ornate and profusely encrusted goldsmiths’ work, Wenzel Jamnitzer dominated the taste of the rich and powerful in the empire not only throughout his career but also through the perpetuation of his style by his sons after his death.” [biography from: British Museum]

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