Hans Krell

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For the Polish theologian, see Johannes Crellius.
Hans Krell
Krell Battle of Orsha (detail) 23.jpg
Presumed self portrait in the Battle of Orsha
Born c. 1490
Died 1565 or 1586
Known for Painting
Notable work Battle of Orsha
Movement Renaissance

Hans Krell (c. 1490-1565[1] or 1586),[2] also Krehl ou Kreil,[1] was a German painter[3] of the Renaissance, mainly known as a portrait painter. He is thought to have been born in Crailsheim[2] or Ansbach, and died in Leipzig.

Hans Krell started his career as court painter of George the Pious, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach in Ansbach.[2] Then he entered into the service of King Louis II of Hungary in Prague and Buda, where he was employed as court portraitist in the years 1522-1526.[2] Then he is recorded in Leipzig (from 1531) and in Freiberg in Saxony (since 1534). Krell was known as the Fürstenmaler (Painter of Princes)[2] in service of the German Princes - Albrecht of Brandenburg-Ansbach, Duke in Prussia, Hedwig Jagiellon, Electress of Brandenburg and the Elector Augustus of Saxony.

Hans Krell is credited by Dieter Koepplin[4] as the author of a painting long associated with Lucas Cranach the Elder or his workshop - Battle of Orsha, painted around 1524-1530.[4] The painting, today displayed in the National Museum in Warsaw, depicts the battle which was fought on 8 September 1514 between the allied forces of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Kingdom of Poland and the army of Grand Duchy of Moscow. According to the specialists, the author must have taken part in the battle himself due to high knowledge of the subject.[4] Krell's connections with the Jagiellonian dynasty patrons (including King of Hungary) and rulers of Prussia makes this attribution highly probable. The author of the painting portraited himself in the painting observing the battle and gazing upwards through intertwined fingers.


  1. ^ a b Pierre Curie (1993). Chefs-d'oeuvre du musée des Beaux-Arts de Leipzig. Paris-Musées. p. 76. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Sir Thomas Ralph Merton (1950). A Catalogue of Pictures and Drawings from the Collection of Sir Thomas Merton: At Stubbings House, Maidenhead. Privately at Chiswick Press. p. 64. 
  3. ^ Biographical sketch in Helen A Dickinson German Masters of Art p. 96
  4. ^ a b c Dorota Folga-Januszewska, Andrzej Rottermund, Lech Majewski (2008). Polish Commonwealth Treasures: On the History of Polish Collecting from the 13th Century to the Late 18th. Bosz. p. 120. ISBN 83-87730-81-5. 

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