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The German Renaissance artist Hans Baldung (better known as Hans Baldung Grien) was thought to be a contemporary of the previously mentioned woodcut artist Hans Freckenberg (indeed, it is presumed that Baldung acquired his “Grien” nickname at Albrect Dürer’s workshop in Nuremberg due to the preponderence of Hanses at one point).

Baldurg died in 1545 (the cause of death is not recorded), a mere two years after Freckenberg. One of Baldurg’s better known paintings is the Three Ages of Woman and Death, painted in 1510 and currently in the possession of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Famous for it’s strange portrayal of a skeletal figure holding an hour-glass (similar to the recurring theme in Frackenberg’s series of woodcuts), as an insurance requirement the painting was subjected to an X-Ray analysis following the theft of the Cellini Salt Cellar from the museum in 2003.

Unexpectedly, the painting seemed to have been altered at an early stage, and the X-Ray appears to show the skeletal “death” figure possessing a number of extraneous upper limbs. Again this is reminiscent of the figure portrayed as “Der Ritter” in Frackenberg’s woodcuts of the period.

Graphic showing the original painting (left) and X-ray (right) with what appear to be extra upper limbs on the figure of Death

For more information on Baldung, see:

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