Heini Wolleb (after Stumpf’s Chronicle)

Oil on canvas, signed and date 1909.

Historisches Museum von Uri, Altdorf, Switzerland.

Urner Wochenblatt, Altdorf, Switzerland, September 25, 1909
Luzerner Tagblatt, Switzerland, Sunday, December 5, 1909
Berner Tagblatt, Switzerland, Tuesday, December 7, 1909

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Heini Wolleb was born in the Urseren around 1445, and died 1499 in Frastanz (Vorarlberg). He was the son of Heini, Amman of the Urseren and horse dealer, and Angelina Russi. His action as mercenary leader in the service of the King of France, Charles VIII, in 1494-1495 is well documented. In 1497, Wolleb took the side of the Duke of Milan Ludovico Sforza, trying in vain, with his brother Peter, to conquer the castle of Mesocco on behalf of the Duke. This rally, as well as his private wars, which were not tolerated, earned him the reprobation of the Diet. Thanks to Uri’s protection, Wolleb escaped an indictment by fleeing back to foreign service. During the Swabian War (1499) Wolleb arrived first with a troop in the region of Chur and Sargans, where, having crossed the Rhine, he gave the Austrians a reason to attack. On April 20, 1499, at the head of 2000 men, he passed the Sarojasattel from Planken, covering the right flank of the Confederate troops who, since Schaan, marched on the Austrian fortification of Frastanz. This manoeuvre decided the victory of Frastanz. The chroniclers made Wolleb the hero of this battle, where he was killed.

Muller-Ury based his painting on the woodcut in Stumpf’s Swiss Chronicle of 1548.