Art, Art History and Design, School of


Date of this Version

Fall 1988


Published in MASTER DRAWINGS, Vol. 26, No. 3 (Autumn, 1988), pp. 233-239+293-298. Copyright 1988 Master Drawings Association


Erhard Schön was the most prolific draughtsman in Nuremberg after Sebald Beham during the second quarter of the sixteenth century, between the end of Dürer's activity and the beginning of Virgil Solis' and Jost Amman's. A pupil of Dürer renowned for his prodigious woodcut production -- some 1,200 book illustrations and 500 single sheets -- Schön also executed at least thirty-eight drawings. These works, never published as a group, are mostly presentation drawings in pen and ink housed at Berlin, Cologne, and Erlangen. They date primarily to the 1530s and early 1540s and have been linked chiefly to Schön's prints. Five additional drawings, executed in watercolor and never attributed to Schön or any other artist, will be shown in this article to be by Schön or from his circle. Conserved today in Nuremberg and Darmstadt (Pls. 7-II), they provide evidence of the previously unexplored function of Schön's drawings as colored book illustrations. A drawing recently acquired by the Getty Museum (Pl. 12) represents another use for Schön's drawings as a working drawing for a print.