LOCHNER, STEPHAN (c. 1400-1451), German painter, the most distinguished representative of the Cologne school. He came to Cologne from Meersburg on the Lake of Constance about 143o. Archives prove that he bought houses in Cologne in 1442 and 1444, that in 1447 and 145o he was elected a councillor by his gild and that he died in 1451. The painter's name has been pre served to us by an entry in the diary of Diirer, who, on his way to the Netherlands, stopped at Cologne and paid two weisspfennige to see the famous altarpiece which Lochner had painted for the chapel of the town hall. This triptych is now in Cologne cathedral. The Virgin, friendly and majestic, sits in the midst with the Child. Around are the three kings, patrons of Cologne, and their f ol lowers. On the wings are the saints of Cologne, on one side Ursula with her company of English maidens, on the other Gereon with his fellows of the Theban Legion. The outside wings, now in the Cologne museum, show an Annunciation, beautifully spaced. The background is diapered gold, and a florid arcade of carved wood runs across the top of the panels. Compared with the earlier work of the Cologne school, this altarpiece constitutes a step towards naturalism and plasticity. The old Cologne ideal of graceful line and pattern design are sacrificed to truth of form. The heads are lifelike ; the men wear the steel and chain armour of Burgundian knights, and the ladies are in the costly costumes of a 15th century court. It is suggested that the artist received his early training in the same school, which under Burgundian influence, produced his contemporary, the strong and realistic Conrad Witz, on the Lake Constance. Moreover, between 1414 and 1418 the famous Council met at Constance which elected Pope Martin V., the art loving patron of Fra Angelico. Constance was then a great gather ing place of famous people, and young Lochner must have wit nessed many a court display and seen many a fine work of art.
On the other hand, the realistic tendency in his art may have been a reflection from the Netherlands. Cologne stood in close relation with the Low Countries, where the Van Eycks were carrying every thing before them, and where Campin was founding his school.
To the Cologne school Lochner owed his love for rich colour, for grace and splendour. He was so completely absorbed that he became Cologne's most famous artist. Other works by the artist are "the Virgin and Child in the Rose Bower surrounded by Angels Playing Music," and "the Virgin Crowned by Angels in the Garden of Paradise," both in the Wallraf-Richartz museum of Cologne. "The Virgin handing a Violet to the Child with a small Kneeling Figure of Elsa von Reicherstein" is now in the Archi episcopal museum at Cologne. He is at his best in these represen tations of the Virgin as a fair and gentle maiden seated in rose gardens with saints and angels playing music, an interpretation reminiscent of the Minnesinger's worship, which was favoured by the Rhineland mystics. The Museum of Darmstadt has a "Pres entation of Christ in the Temple" of very fine quality. There are small panels with "standing saints" at the Munich, London and Cologne museums. "The Last Judgment," also at the Cologne museum, is most succesful in the part which depicts the procession of saints passing through a late Gothic portal lead ing to heaven—while his interpretation of hell is unconvincing and burlesque.
His work forms the transition from the Gothic to naturalism. He was a lyric poet, and he preserved some of the old grace of sentiment and line of the old school. His school continued to about 1466. To it are ascribed the paintings of the legend of St. Ursula in the church of that saint at Cologne, and a Crucifix dated 1458 in the Cologne museum. His style can be traced also in several stained glass windows of the city.
See Ludwig Scheibler and Carl Aldenhoven, Geschichte der Kolner Malerschule (Lubeck, 1902).