The painting and varnishing trade has come a long way to become the well-known skilled trade that it is today. This trade is responsible for the protection and upkeep of our surroundings as well as making them more aesthetically pleasing. Walls were already being coloured in some way in the ancient Egyptian and Greek civilisations. However, it was not until the time of the Roman state that expertise, skills and trades came over the Alps to Germany.
In the Middle Ages, signs were painted as tribal symbols; each Germanic tribe had specially painted signs (or Schilder). The people who carried out this work became known as Schilderer. The Schilderer were therefore the forefathers of those working in the painting and varnishing trade today. Cities and painters thrived in the 14th century; walls in churches, town halls, castles, and private houses belonging to the rich were decorated with murals. It was also at this time that Zünfte came into being – these were a type of guild for craft and tradespeople.
In the 15th century, the first Malerwappen (coats of arms for painters) emerged. It consisted of three white shields on a red background – later, there were also the three shields on a blue background. In the Middle Ages (beginning of the trade), not only artistic wall paintings were carried out. Before the professions of whitewasher and painter came into being, the whitewashing of walls was the bricklayer’s responsibility. The terms ‘housepainter’ and ‘decorator’ developed from these job titles.
With the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the modern age, the work of the painter became increasingly diverse. Secular and religious princes, earls, barons, merchants and cities were the patrons of the painters.