(b Rottweil, Swabia, c.1400; d Basle or Geneva, 1444/6). German-born painter active in Switzerland and generally considered a member of the Swiss School. He became a member of the painters' guild in Basle in 1434 and evidently spent the rest of his career there and in Geneva. Little else is known of him and few paintings by him survive. These few, however, show that he was remarkably advanced in his naturalism, suggesting a knowledge of the work of his contemporaries Jan van Eyck and the Master of Flémalle. In place of the soft lines and lyrical qualities of International Gothic, Witz's paintings are characterized by heavy, almost stumpy, figures, whose ample draperies emphasize their solidity. His most famous works are the four surviving panels (forming two wings) from the altarpiece of St Peter that he painted for the cathedral in Geneva.
Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)