stone mason, draftsman, cartographer, engineer

born Nürnberg, 27. Feb 1591

died Nürnberg, 06. Aug 1632

Hans Bien attracted the attention of the City Council in 1612 by a freehand pen-and-ink-drawing with a length of almost three meters – an ingenious panoramic view of the city as seen from the west.  Although he was financially sponsored by the City during his training he did not find permanent employment. His becoming a freelance artist turned out to be a godsend for posterity. Bien left behind some of the best architectural drawings that have ever been made, mostly works on commission. Certainly he drew some valuable ideas from his cooperation with Hieronymus Braun and Jacob Wolf. His exquisite city and object views prove him to be an unsurpassed draftsman.

Although since the Late Gothic there had been exact city views from a higher point (e.g. Venice by Reuwich, Mainz 1486) and a bird´s eye view from the Early Renaissance (the Venice plan by Jacopo de Barbari, 1500), Bien being a carthographer constructed hundred years later strict axonometries, respectively isometries on exact floor plans, which show that his art was based on science. This was possible since the time of Late Renaissance, however, one would look in vain for a similarly exact and yet artistic documentarian in all of Europe at that time. Regrettably he died at the earl age of only 41 years.

Dr. Pablo de la Riestra

Style: Late Renaissance

Period: 17th c.