Hans Sachs (September 5, 1494 - January 19, 1576) was a German meistersinger ("mastersinger"), poet, playwright and shoemaker.
Hans Sachs was born in Nuremberg (Nürnberg in German). His father was a tailor. He attended the Lateinschule in Nuremberg. When he was 14 he took up an apprenticeship as a shoemaker. After the apprenticeship, at age 17, he went on "Walz", that is, wandering about and working here and there, for five years. It is said that he decided to become a mastersinger in Innsbruck 1513. In the same year, he took up a kind of apprenticeship to become a mastersinger at Munich, Lienhard Nunnenbeck (a linnen weaver) was his master. In 1516 he settled in Nuremberg and stayed for the rest of his life. On September 1, 1519 he married Kunigunde Creutzer (*1512), who died in 1560. He married again September 2, 1561, this time the young widow Barbara Harscher. He had no known offspring. From 1525 and onwards he had growing sympathies for Martin Luther and supported Luther's cause in some works.
Hans Sachs is considered the most talented and famous meistersingers, and may be the only one with a lasting fame at all. Also, he is the one about whom most is known. The strict rules and the craftsmen's approach to poetry of the mastersingers produced a kind of poetry that was not really palatable for later ages. Their historical value lays in the fact that this movement encouraged the production of poetry by respectable commoners for their own pleasure and that of their kin. His carnival plays (comedies that were meant to be played during carnival) are considered his best works and are still played today. In those and in some other works he went beyond the conventions that a proper mastersong has to follow.
Works about him
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, an Opera by Richard Wagner
Goethe's poem Hans Sachsens poetische Sendung
He wrote ober 6000 pieces of various kinds, exact numbers vary widely in secondary litrature. This productivity is especially remarkable because he kept working as a shoemaker throughout his life.
Mastersongs proper (about 4200)