Hans Sachs  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Hans Sachs (November 5, 1494 - January 19, 1576) was a German meistersinger ("mastersinger"), poet, playwright and shoemaker.


Hans Sachs was born in Nuremberg (Template:Lang-de). His father was a tailor. He attended Latin school (Template:Lang-de) in Nuremberg. When he was 14 he took up an apprenticeship as a shoemaker.

After the apprenticeship, at age 17, he was a journeyman and set out on his Wanderjahre (or Walz), that is, wandering about and working here and there, for five years. He worked at his craft in many towns, including Regensburg, Passau, Salzburg, Munich, Osnabrück, Lübeck and Leipzig.

It is said that he decided to become a mastersinger in Innsbruck 1513. In the same year, he took up a kind of apprenticeship to become a mastersinger at Munich. Lienhard Nunnenbeck (a linnen weaver) was his master. In 1516 he settled in Nuremberg and stayed for the rest of his life. On September 1, 1519 he married Kunigunde Creutzer (*1512), who died in 1560. He married again September 2, 1561, this time the young widow Barbara Harscher. He had no known offspring.

The great event of his intellectual life was the coming of the Reformation; he became an ardent adherent of Luther, and in 1523 wrote in Luther's honour the poem beginning “The nightingale of Wittenberg, who is heard everywhere” (Template:Lang-de), and four remarkable dialogues in prose, in which his warm sympathy with the reformer were tempered by counsels of moderation. In spite of this, his advocacy of the new faith brought upon him a reproof from the town council of Nuremberg; and he was forbidden to publish any more “pamphlets or rhymes” (Template:Lang-de). It was not long, however, before the council itself openly threw in its lot with the Reformation.


He wrote over 6000 pieces of various kinds; exact numbers vary widely in secondary literature, mainly because it is not always clear if a piece of writing should be considered an independent work or part of a larger context. Also it is hard to compare such sources because certain works may be put in different categories by different authors. His productivity is especially remarkable because he kept working as a shoemaker throughout his life.

He had to do this because as far as is known the Mastersingers did not as a common practice write or sing for profit


The mastersongs were not printed, being intended solely for the use of the Nuremberg Meistersinger school, of which Sachs was the leading spirit. His fame rests mainly on the “spoken poems” (Template:Lang-de) which include his dramatic writings. His “tragedies” and “comedies” are, however, little more than stories told in dialogue, and divided at convenient pauses into a varying number of acts; of the essentials of dramatic construction or the nature of dramatic action Sachs has little idea.

The subjects are drawn from the most varied sources, the Bible, the classics and the Italian novelists being specially laid under contribution. He succeeds best in the short anecdotal Fastnachtsspiel or Shrovetide play, where characterization and humorous situation are of more importance than dramatic form or construction.

Farces like

  • Der fahrende Schüler im Paradies (1550)
  • Das Wildbad (1550)
  • Das heiss Eisen (1551)
  • Der Bauer im Fegefeuer (1552)

have been played on the modern stage.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Hans Sachs" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools