Pacher, Michael

Pacher, Michael

(mĭkh`äĕl pä`khər), c.1435–1498, German religious painter and probably a wood carver, a native of the Tyrol. He painted figures reminiscent of the art of Mantegna, whose work Pacher must have seen on a trip to N Italy. His few known works are chiefly altarpieces, composed on a monumental scale and distinguished for their beauty of workmanship. His masterpiece is the great altarpiece in the village church of St. Wolfgang, Salzkammergut, Austria, executed c.1480 and consisting of a beautifully carved centerpiece in late Gothic style with four wings, painted with scenes from the lives of Jesus and St. Wolfgang.


See study by N. Rasmo (tr. 1971).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Pacher, Michael


Born circa 1435 in Bruneck, now Brunico, Italian Tirol; died 1498 in Salzburg(?). Austrian painter and sculptor (wood-carver).

Pacher’s paintings reflect the influence of Mantegna, as can be seen in the painted wings of the altarpiece in the church of St. Wolfgang on the Abersee in Upper Austria (1471–81) and in the Altarpiece of the Four Church Fathers (1475–79) in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich. The paintings reveal a transition from late Gothic art to the art of the Renaissance.

Pacher adopted the use of extreme foreshortening; his composition was clear and monumental; and he was the first south German artist to use systematic perspective. The sternly dramatic images are even more evident in Pacher’s sculpture, which is closer to the traditions of German Gothic than is his painting, as can be seen in the carvings of the altar of St. Wolfgang.


Rasmo, N. Michael Pacher. Munich, 1969.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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