Angelika Rinnhofer describes her series Menschenkunde as portraits that combine facts, beauty, and irony in a Renaissance-style. Her work is inspired by Albrecht Durer and Michelangelo, Mannerism and the Renaissance. The portraits in her Menschenkunde series pose their subjects in bygone costumes, in postures, lighting, and composition inspired by the Old Masters, but with a unique and more contemporary mindset. While the Old Masters used portraits to depict the status and importance of their subjects, Rinnhofer’s images capture figures she has created, with no story and indication of their significance or rank. This inspires the viewers to create their own stories.
Angelika Rinnhofer was exposed to art early in her life. Her mother’s artistic talent as well as the artistic tradition in her family served as inspiration for her interest in painting. At a young age Rinnhofer was introduced to the work of painter Albrecht Durer, who lived in her hometown of Nuremberg, Germany in the sixteenth century. Durer’s work still inspires Rinnhofer today. While in art school at Fachoberschule fur Gestaltung, her interest in art shifted from painting to photography. According to Rinnhofer, many things have influenced her current photographic work, including Renaissance paintings, Gothic and Baroque churches in Europe, history, people’s faces, jewelry designed by a friend, seeing Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine, beautiful fabrics, and reading the New York Review of Books.
Rinnhofer is the recipient of a Kodak European Gold Award, funding from the New York State Foundation for the Arts, and a fellowship in photography from the Dutchess County Arts Council. Her work has been exhibited internationally, most recently at the Paul Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles and Bernice Steinbaum Gallery in Miami. Her photographs are included in collections at Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art in New Paltz, NY, at Light Work, and the private collection of Joseph T. Baio, Esq. She participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program in 2005.