Wenzel Jamnitzer

1508 - Dec 19, 1585

Wenzel Jamnitzer was a Northern Mannerist goldsmith, artist, and printmaker in etching, who worked in Nuremberg. He was the best known German goldsmith of his era, and court goldsmith to a succession of Holy Roman Emperors.
A native of Vienna, Jamnitzer was a member of a Moravian German family which, for more than 160 years, had produced works under the names Jamnitzer, Jemniczer, Gemniczer, and Jamitzer. Wenzel, with his brother Albrecht, was trained by his father Hans the Elder. Later, Wenzel's son Hans Jamnitzer and grandson Christof Jamnitzer continued his business.
Jamnitzer worked as a court goldsmith for all the German emperors of his era, including Charles V, Ferdinand I, Maximilian II, and Rudolf II. Also, he probably invented an embossing machine.
In 1534, Jamnitzer settled in Nuremberg. He made vases and jewelry boxes with great skill, in a style based on that of the Italian Renaissance. Besides precious metals, he incorporated hardstones, shells, corals, and small birds' eggs in his works.
In 1543 he was appointed as a coin and seal die-cutter by the city of Nuremberg. In 1552, he became master of the city mint.
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