The Danube School (or Donauschule) is the name of a group of painters of the beginning of the 16th century living mainly in Bavaria and Austria. Landscape painting and highly expressive figures are the trademarks of the members of the school. The main representatives were Albrecht Altdorfer, Wolf Huber and Jörg Breu the Elder.
The school elaborated a new vision of the relationship between man, nature and nature’s forces. Landscape therefore plays a key role in their paintings, becoming a means to underline the symbolism of their artworks. The fusion human-nature is another element of their works, as well as other dramatic and apocalyptic subjects. The Danube School is the first circle of European artists to create “pure” landscape paintings, a genre of painting that depict a natural scenery with no human figures. Some of their “pure” landscapes include “Danube landscape near Regensburg” by Altdorfer and “Donaulandschaft bei Krems” by Huber, both having the Danube as their main subject.
Albrecht Altdorfer is considered one of the leaders of the school and his works are characterised by biblical and historical subjects along with the typical landscape painting. Nature plays a pivotal role in his paintings, even when it is not the main element of the painting, for instance in the famous “The Battle of Alexander at Issus”.