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Susanna Maria von Sandrart

(1658–1716, Nuremberg)

Susanna Maria von Sandrart, the third child of the draughtsman, etcher and bookseller, Jacob von Sandrart (1630–1708), was born in Nuremberg in 1658. Jacob was a cousin of Joachim von Sandrart (1606–1688), the most important 17th century German artist and art writer. Susanna grew up literally at the very epicentre of the Nuremberg art scene: the house occupied by the Sandrart family was also home to the Nuremberg Art Academy, the oldest institution of its kind in the German-speaking parts of Europe, one of whose founders was Joachim von Sandrart. Being a woman, however, Susanna was not allowed to study at the Academy and so learned the art of etching exclusively in the studio of her father and great-uncle. Consequently Susanna had no opportunity to study the human body after nature, which was standard practice at the academies, nor was she permitted to go on study trips abroad. These restrictions notwithstanding, the young artist developed considerable artistic skills. She produced an extensive printed oeuvre, most of which arose during her years as a widow from 1688 to 1695 (cf. S. Leßmann, Susanna Maria von Sandrart (1658–1716). Arbeitsbedingungen einer Nürnberger Graphikerin im 17. Jahrhundert, Hildesheim 1991).