(b ?Schwäbisch Gmünd, 1484/5; d Strasbourg, Sept. 1545). German painter, printmaker, and designer. The nickname ‘Grien’ (green) perhaps referred to his liking for the colour. He probably trained with Dürer in Nuremberg, but his brilliant colour, expressive use of distortion, and taste for the gruesome (he was fascinated by witchcraft) bring him closer in spirit to his other great German contemporary, Grünewald.
His output was varied and extensive, including religious works, allegories and mythologies, portraits, designs for stained glass and tapestries, and a large body of graphic work, particularly book illustrations. He was active mainly in Strasbourg, but from 1512 to 1517 he lived in Freiburg-im-Breisgau, where he worked on his masterpiece, the high altar for Freiburg Cathedral (unusually for an artist of the time, he came from a scholarly family and his brother was a professor at Freiburg University). The centre panel of the altarpiece (which is still in situ) is a radiant Coronation of the Virgin. Baldung's most characteristic paintings, however, are in a different vein—erotic allegories such as Death and the Maiden, a subject he treated several times. Eroticism is also often strongly present in his prints (mainly woodcuts), the best known of which is The Bewitched Stable Boy (1544), which has been interpreted as an allegory of lust.
Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)