(b ?c.1435; d Salzburg, July/Aug. 1498). Austrian painter and sculptor, active mainly at Bruneck in the Tyrol, where he is first documented in 1467 (although there are records of lost works dating back to 1462). He worked mainly for local churches, carrying out the carving as well as the painting of his altarpieces, and much of his work is still in situ. His most celebrated work is the St Wolfgang altarpiece (1471–81) in the church of St Wolfgang on the Abersee, a huge polyptych with some astonishingly intricate woodcarving and painted wings.
Although Pacher's sculpture is thoroughly late Gothic in spirit, his painting is strongly influenced by Italian art. He is particularly close to Mantegna, especially in the way dramatic effects are obtained by using a low viewpoint and setting the figures close to the picture plane. There is no documentary evidence that Pacher visited Italy, but because of its proximity to the Tyrol it seems highly likely that he did. His work had wide influence and before Dürer he was the most important interpreter of Renaissance ideas for painting in the German-speaking world. His son Hans Pacher was a painter, and Michael sometimes collaborated with a Friedrich Pacher, who was perhaps also a relative (although the surname is not uncommon).
Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)