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Stephan Lochner

active 1442; died 1451

Lochner was one of the leading painters working in Cologne during the 15th century. Unusually, he can be identified by name, since his altarpiece of 'The Adoration of the Kings', now in Cologne Cathedral, was described by Dürer as being by 'maister Steffan zu Coln'.

Works such as the Gallery's panel are attributed to Lochner because of stylistic links with this 'Adoration'. Lochner was probably born in Meersburg, a town on Lake Constance. He is first recorded in Cologne in June 1442, when he was paid for decorations made to celebrate the arrival of Emperor Frederick III. In 1447 he was elected as a councillor of the Cologne painters' guild. In September 1451, during a plague outbreak, permission was sought to create a new graveyard beside Lochner's house. By Christmas of that year he was dead.

The style of his work, with its use of rich colour and patterning, and its emphasis on sweetness of expression, especially of the female figures, is similar to that of earlier Cologne artists like the Master of Saint Veronica.