Albert the Great                                    


A brief biography.


Albert the Great, Albert der Grosse,  byname Albert of Köln, or of Lauingen, or Doctor universalis, was born ca 1200, in Lauingen an der Donau, Swabia, Germany, as the eldest son of a wealthy German lord. He went to the University of Padua, where he studied the liberal arts. He joined the Dominican order at Padua in 1223, continued his studies at Padua and Bologna and in Germany. Then he taught theology at several priories throughout Germany, lastly at Cologne.

Sometime before 1245 he was sent to the Dominican priory of Saint-Jacques at the University of Paris, where he came into contact with the works of Aristotle, newly translated from Greek and Arabic, and with the commentaries on Aristotle's works by the Spanish-Arabian philosopher Averroës.
He lectured on the Bible for two years and then for another two years on Peter Lombard's Sentences. In 1245 he was graduated master in the theological faculty and obtained the Dominican chair "for foreigners."

It was probably at Paris that Albert began to write his presentation of the entire body of knowledge of his time. Working  on this project, which took about 20 years to complete, he probably had among his disciples Thomas Aquinas, who arrived at Paris late in 1245. Albert' lectures and publications gained him great renown. Roger Bacon, a contemporary English scholar who was by no means friendly toward Albert, spoke of him as "the most noted of Christian scholars."

In the summer of 1248, Albert was sent to Köln to organize the first Dominican studium generale ("general house of studies") in Germany. He presided over the house until 1254. During this period his chief disciple was Thomas Aquinas, who returned to Paris in 1252. The two men maintained a close relationship even though doctrinal differences began to appear.
From 1254 to 1257 Albert was provincial of "Teutonia," the German province of the Dominicans.
In 1259 he was appointed by the pope to succeed the bishop of Regensburg, and he was installed as bishop in January 1260.
After Alexander IV died in 1261, Albert was able to resign his episcopal see.
He then returned to his order and to teaching at
Köln. From 1263 to 1264 he was legate of Pope Urban IV, preaching the crusade throughout Germany and Bohemia, and in 1270 he settled definitively at Köln.
In 1274 he attended the second Council of Lyon, France, and spoke in favour of acknowledging Rudolf of Habsburg as German king. In 1277 he travelled to Paris to uphold the recently condemned good name and writings of Thomas Aquinas


He died Nov.15, 1280, in Köln and was buried in the church of the Dominican priory in Köln. He was canonized Dec. 16, 1931. By papal decree in 1941, he was declared the patron saint of all who cultivate the natural sciences.




Albert the Great on the facade 1670, of the church Santa Maria Rotunda
of the priory at Vienna.


Austria 1966, Mi 1202, Sc 757.







Postmark after the mosaic Mary, Queen of the World, by Hermann Bach in the school-chapel of the Albert the Great school, Semperstrasse at Vienna. The letter A is the symbol for Albertus with the mitre  for his identity as bishop.


Austria 1966. Postmark 1966.                                        On order.




founded by Guillaume-Joseph Chaminade (1761-22.1.1850),

foudner of the Marists (1817).


Albert the Great with feather and book, leaded lights (1955) by Josef Widmoser in the chapel of the Albert the Great School, Semperstrasse at Vienna, for the 1000-years jubilee of Austria 1976.


Austria 1976. Postmark Vienna 15.11.1976. 





The fathers Marists founded  the Albert the Great School
in Vienna, 13.9.1891
, and celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the School 1937-1987. In the postmark Guillaume-Joseph Chaminade (1761-22.1.1850), founder of the Marists (1817), beatified 3.9.2000. Mitre and book: symbols of bishop Albert the Great.

Austria 1987. Postmark Vienna 16.11.1987.



The old front of the Albert the Great School, Michaelerstrasse at
Vienna, founded by the fathers Marists and inaugurated 13.08.1891.


Austria 1991. Postmark Vienna 29.05.1992.




Postmark with the letters AMS as stars: Albertus Magnus Schule (Albert the Great School) at Vienna; drawing of a schoolboy, eleven years of the gymnasium.


Austria 1992. Postmark Vienna 25.11.1994.




Centenary of the Albert the Great School at Vienna,
founded by the fathers Marists 13.09.1891.
In the postmark the portrait of G.J. Chaminade,
founder of the fathers Marists (1817), beatified
by Pope John Paul II, 03.09.2000.


Austria 2001. Postmark Vienna 22.01.2001.





Wooden life-size statue of Albert the Great at the confessional by W.Herrickx the Older (1652-1719)   n the Saint Paul church, Antwerp.


Belgium 1969, Mi 1539, Sc 676.




Albert the Great was born at Lauingen ca 1200.

In this city his statue on the central place.


Germany 1937. Post card.






The city Andernach commemorated Albert the Great with
the Albertus Magnus Woche.


Germany 1954. Postmark Andernach 01.08.1954.





On many stamps and postmarks Albert the Great is reproduced from a painting by Joos (Justus) of Ghent, also of Wassenhove, (Ghent ca 1435/40 - Urbino ca 1480). He became a member of the Antwerp Guild in 1460, but had to move to Ghent, 1464, where he was a friend of Hugo van der Goes. At some time after 1468 he went to Rome, and  settled in Urbino, 1474, where he worked for Duke Federico da Montefeltro.

Joos's only documented work is The Communion of the Apostles (also known as The Institution of the Eucharist, 1472-74), which is preserved in the Galleria Nazionale, Urbino.

                                                                            Germany 1961 Mi 347, Sc 824.


The most important work, attributed to Joos, are a series of twenty-eight Famous Men (Galleria Nazionale, Urbino, and Louvre, Paris), commissioned for the library of the Ducal Palace. Their authorship is controversial, and they may have been a work of collaboration between Joos and the Spanish painter Pedro Berruguete.                                                   

To this series belongs the portrait of Albert the Great (on canvas, 122 x 69 cm).
A copy is conserved in the Andrews priory in

Albertus magnus Exhibition by his 700the days of his death.  Historisches Archiv der Stadt Köln, 1980. p. 213.



Seal of Albert the Great, bishop of Regensburg 1260 - 1261, with the text: + sigillum - fratris - alberti dei g(rati)a - ratisbonensis - episcopi.Preserved in the Episcopal Archives, Regensburg.

Albert the Great enthroned with mitre, book and crosier, oval 2,7 x 4,2 cm.


                                     Germany 1961, Mi 347, Sc 824. FDC

Description in Albertus Magnus. Ausstellung zum 700 Geburtstag. Historisches Archiv der Stadt Köln 1981, S. 74 und S. 225, Abbildung Nr 8.



7th Centenary of the death of Albert the Great. Stamp aafter the painting of Joos of Ghent (see above), designed by Elisabeth von Janota - Bzowski after the copy in the Andrews priory in Düsseldorf.

                    Germany 1980, Mi 1049, Sc 1328.
  Germany 1981, Postmark Köln 28.4.1981.





First Cologne's ship postage stamps exhibition in the Albert the Great Gymnasium, Köln, 1980.


Germany 1980. Postmark Köln 25.10.1980.





Albert the Great was born in  Lauingen ca 1200-1193, and died in Köln in 1280. In commemoration of his death these postmarks. The portrait is perhaps taken from the medal of Kurt Bodlak, Vienna 1970. Albertus Magnus. Ausstellung zum 700. Todestag. Köln 1981, plate 56.

Germany 1980. Postmark Lauingen 15.11.1980.

                                          Germany1980. Postmark Lauingen 02.12.1980.



On the postcard for the National Stamp Exhibition Naposta' 81 in Stuttgart the printed mark of Albert the Great. The postmark with the same picture.


Germany 1981. Postcard Naposta '81.





The woodcarving of Albrecht  Dürer, The Philosophy (215 x 147 cm) shows the Egyptian philosophers, among others Plotinus; the Greek philosophers: a.o. Plato; the Latin: Cicero, Vergilius, and the German: Albertus Magnus.



   Germany 1993.Postmark   

   Heroldsberg 9.7.1993.








The Albert the Great Begegnung
in Königstein, Germany 1988. Königstein 06.07.1988.
Machine postage stamp


Germany, the Albertus-Magnus-
Kolleg in Königstein.

Germany 1994. Machine postage stamp Wetzlar 10.12.1994.






    Albert the Great as bishop on horse-back, teaching  

    his companion, during his mission for peace, by  

    Angelo Canevari.

    Vatican City 1980,  Mi 777, Sc 677.
     Albert the Great
as bishop, by Angelo Canevari.
                    Vatican City 1980, Mi 778, Sc 678.






Pope John Paul II visits Germany from 15 till 19 November and prays before the tomb of Albert the Great in the Saint Andrews Church in Köln.


Vatican City 1980. KimCover PW136.                    







  Return to   REGISTER A             Return to  HOMEPAGE