Jost Amman is considered as one of the best professional
wood-engravers in Germany between 1560 and 1590. He was
born on 13 June 1539 in Zürich, Switzerland. Jost was the
youngest son of the scholar and choirmaster Johann Jakob Amman.
studied at the Collegium Carolinum where his father was a
professor. As his brother Josua (1531–64), who became a
goldsmith, Jost did not take up a scholarly career but was
apprenticed to a painter of stained-glass pictures in Zürich.
As a journeyman Jost arrived in Basel in 1559, where he worked
as "Visierer" or "Scheibenrißzeichner", which means that he made
original sketches, drafts and drawings on order and from
requirements from customers. The draft was then passed to the
engraver or painter, sculptor etc. who worked from the draft.
Amman may have spent some time in France, since his early works
show a close resemblance to French book illustrations.
Jost Amman moved to Nuremberg about 1561, where he worked with
Virgil Solis (1514-1562) and was taught wood-cutting and
etching. Virgil Solis was one of Nuremberg's most
productive printmakers and book illustrators. After
Solis's death in 1562 Amman took over his workshop and the
partnership with Solis's publisher, Sigmund Feyerabend. In
1577 Amman became burgher of Nuremberg and by 1581 he was well
established and famous. Jost Amman died on 17 March 1591
After Amman wood engraving rapidly declined in Germany and was
more or less replaced by copper engraving. Amman’s wood
engravings are full of detail, particularly in the famous ‘Ständebuch’,
and the interiors of workshops etc. have the tools and
appliances clearly drawn.