Virgil Solis Biography

Virgil Solis drew on the inspiration of artist's like Albretch Durer in his artistic vision. Creating wonderful woodcuts, some of Solis's best work relates to Classical Mythology, in particular a series based on Ovid's Metamorphoses.

Virgil Solis
Virgil Solis (German, 1514–1562)

Born in Nuremberg 1514, Virgil Solis (Nuremberg 1514 – Nuremberg 1562) was a member of a prolific family of German artists. His origins and training are unclear, but he became a draughtsman and printmaker in engraving, etching, and woodcut by 1539 and often signed himself as a painter, but no evidence of that career exists.

Solis' early drawing style employed strong outlines and simple hatching and he aimed to produce popular, commercially successful prints on many subjects. The most notable aspect of Solis' work is his skillful absorption and re-interpretation of other artist's styles, particularly Albrecht Dürer, Peter Flötner, Sebald Beham and many others of French, German, and Italian origin. Solis' woodcuts illustrating Ovid were especially influential, though partly borrowing from earlier illustrations by the French artist Bernard Salomon.

Solis also disseminated contemporary ornamental forms to artisans, who often used his prints as models for furniture decoration, architectural friezes, pitchers, bowls, sword scabbards, and jewelry. His mixtures of animal and vegetable forms on drinking vessel designs helped to break many goldsmiths' strict adherence to classical motifs. Solis' monogram signature came to mean only that prints originated in his workshop, rather than identifying his own designs.

*Biographical information was obtained from The Getty: Photo: