A prominent student of the German master, Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528), Han Baldung acquired the name Grien, or Grün, for his use of green color. The artist came from a highly educated family, which was another distinct attribute amongst his German contemporaries. He was well known for his daring use of grotesque themes, as well as painting supernatural and erotic subjects. His art included paintings, portraits, woodcuts, book illustrations and stained glass designs.
He studied under Dürer in Nuremberg from 1503 – 1507 and it is said they developed a strong friendship; it is here in was nicknamed Grien, to distinguish him from other Hans in the workshop. Baldung settled eventually in Strassburg and then to Freiburg im Breisgau, where he executed what is known as his masterpiece. Here in painted an eleven panel altarpiece for the Freiburg Cathedral, still in tact today, depicting scenes from the life of the Virgin, including, The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Nativity, The Flight into Egypt, The Crucifixion, Four Saints and The Donators. These depictions were a large part of the artist’s greater body of work containing several renowned pieces of the Virgin.
. Both his paintings and his more famous woodcut prints were a highly individual German style, outside of the prevalent Italian influence of the Renaissance. He created many religious pieces, allegorical works, mythological themes and several well known depictions of witches. In several cases Baldung could combine themes, such as the erotic and horrific, seen in his piece Death and the Maiden and also The Bewitched Stable Boy. The artist had a superbly imaginative approach to his representations, as seen in his two panels of Adam and Eve, now in the Uffizi Gallery. Influenced by the fascination of witchcraft at the time, Baldung also drew wildly erotic depictions such as Witch and Dragon. He would approach his portrait painting in this way as well, opting more to capture the persona and mood of his subject, rather than just a direct representation.
He was a fairly wealthy property owner, and involved in civic affairs in his home of Strassburg.