Stefan Lochner (1400 or 1410 – 1451) was a German late Gothic painter. He worked in Cologne, Germany, and his principal work is a triptych known as the Altar of the City Patrons, painted for the Town Hall chapel in the 1440s and now in Cologne Cathedral. It represents the city in homage to the infant Jesus.
His style, famous for its clean appearance, combines Gothic attention towards long flowing lines done in brilliant colours with a Flemish-influenced realism and attention to detail. His compositions often include fanciful angels, singing and playing musical instruments.
Lochner is thought to have come from Meersburg, as his parents are known to have died there. He is recorded as being in Cologne by 1442, where he was paid for decorations in connection with the celebration of the visit of Emperor Frederick III. He was elected town councilor by the painters' guild in 1447 and 1450. There are no records of him after the end of 1451.
There are no signed paintings by Lochner, and no paintings were attributed to him until J.F. Böhmer named him as the painter of the Altar of the City Patrons in an article published in 1823. He based his attribution on a mention of a visit to Cologne in 1520 in the diary of Albrecht Dürer, in which the artist notes paying to see an altarpiece by "Maister Steffan". Böhmer identified this as the Altar of the City Patrons, and "Maister Steffan" as the documented Stefan Lochner.
On the basis of the style of the triptych, a number of other paintings have been attributed to him, including two dated versions of the Presentation in the Temple, one in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum (1445) and another in the Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt (1447); two wings from an altarpiece, with images of saints (now in the National Gallery, London and the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne), and an altarpiece from the church of St. Lorenz, now divided between three museums.
The epitome of his style is Madonna of the Rose Bower (c. 1450, in the Wallraf-Richartz Museum), showing the Virgin and Child reposing in a blooming rose arbor and attended by Lochner's characteristic child Angels.
- "Stephen Lochner". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- "Altar-piece of the city’s patron saints, c.1440/45, open view". Cologne Cathedral. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- Rowlands, John (1988). The Age of Dürer and Holbein: German Drawings 1400-1550. London: British Museum Publications. ISBN 0-7141-1639-4.
- "Galerie des Frères Boisserée / St Antony, Pope Cornelius and Mary Magdalene". British Museum., quoting Griffiths, Antony; Carey, Frances (1994). German Printmaking in the Age of Goethe. British Museum Publications.
- Rachel Billinge, Lorne Campbell, Jill Dunkerton, Susan Foister, Jo Kirby, Jennie Pilc, Ashok Roy, Marika Spring and Raymond White. "A double-sided panel by Stephan Lochner". National Gallery Technical Bulletin No 18.
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