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Friedrich Sustris

1540 Venice (?) – 1600 Munich

Friedrich Sustris was one of the foremost artists in southern Germany in the late 16th century. He received his initial training from his father, the Dutch painter Lambert Sustris, in Venice and Padua. After a stay in Rome he studied under Giorgio Vasari, whom he assisted on works for the Medici in Florence, where he became a member of the Accademia del Disegno in 1564. At the age of 28 he continued his artistic career north of the Alps. Having made a name for himself in southern Germany with extensive commissions in Augsburg and Landshut, he finally acquired a leading position as court artist to Duke Wilhelm V in Munich, where his main duties included the planning and interior appointments of the numerous conversions of, and additions to, the Residenz. The Grottenhof, built between 1582 and 1588, and the Antiquarium, whose construction began in 1586, are still regarded as two of the most amazing buildings of the German Renaissance. A talented and versatile architect, painter, fresco artist and interior designer, Sustris embodied the Renaissance ideal of a universal artist. Like Vasari for the Medici, he played a key role at one of the most influential courts of his day.