Master Paul ranks among the most important European medieval woodcarvers. No one else has left such an extensive work as he. In spite of this he is rather lesser known in the history of art. Paul’s name appeared in literature for the first time in connection with authorship of the Levoca main altar, hardly 130 years ago. Since then we have learnt about him enough though the fire of Levoca´s town archives
in 1550, deprived us of much information. First of all, we do know if Paul was born in Levoca or he came to this town later. He may have come from Passau, Wittenberg, Augsburg, Krakow, or perhaps from northern Italy or Tirol? We do not even know his surname. He was probably born around 1475-1480. By 1506 he was well established in Levoca. He married a daughter of one the most cultural and influential townsmen. That enabled him to open a wood carving workshop must have worked very intensively, as a great amount of works, created in close sequence, has been preserved, scattered throughout Eastern Slovakia. He and his wife had three daughters and one son. In 1527 he was a member of Levoca town council. We can follow dates about him up to year 1537. After that there is no mention of him and in 1542 only his widow is mentioned. Therefore he must have died in period 1537-1542. His work did not gain wealth for him. Many experts place his as an apprentice of Vit Stwosz who worked in Krakow at the end of the 15-th century. This is because Levoca had intensive links to him and the art of both woodcarvers has many common features. In any case he is not only a highly prolific author, but also an original one whose work influenced other wood carvers for a long time. .
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Master Paul biography
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