Willibald Pirckheimer

Willibald Pirckheimer

Willibald Pirckheimer (5 December 1470 22 December 1530) was a prominent German humanist, political figure, lawyer, translator (from classical Greek and Latin to contemporary German) and a classical scholar. He was the best friend of Albrecht Durer, and although not an artist himself, influenced the works of Durer.

Durer often depicted scenes from classical mythology and historical events, despite the fact that he lacked a formal education beyond his art apprenticeship. Most critics and historians believe that Durer derived his knowledge of these subjects from his friend Pirckheimer. Durer also produced several paintings and drawings of Pirckheimer.

Pirckheimer was in many ways the embodiment of the term Renaissance Man, which is to say a "polymath" who has expertise in a wide variety of subject areas. His range of knowledge, interests and activities was outstanding. He counted among his friends the philosopher Erasmus as well as the German Emperor Maximilian I, and served as one of the governing council of the city of Nuremberg. He was a renowned lawyer, and a noted scholar of classical literature and an accomplished translator. He was also a man of action and was elected by the city of Nuremberg to serve as a commander of their contingent of imperial troops sent to fight against the Swiss in the Swabian war.

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