The Italian painter, copperplate engraver and woodcutter Jacopo de’Barbari was born around the year 1440 in Venice. Until 1500, the artist was active in his home city. He probably studied here in the school of Alvise Vivarini (ca. 1445–1505). His first identifiable work is a large "Veduta of Venice from a Bird’s-Eye Perspective". Probably through the intervention of the Nuremberg merchant Anton Kolb, Jacopo de’Barbari was called to Nuremberg by Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519) for a year. Here he earned a yearly salary of 100 Rhine guldens.
Around the year 1501, Jacopo de’Barbari asked Friedrich III of Saxony (1463–1525) to work towards the reinstatement of painting in the liberal arts. In this way, Friedrich III became aware of him and enlisted him as his court painter in 1503-05.
Further on, de’Barbari was active in Torgau, Naumburg, Lochau, Weimar and Wittenberg, and for part of the time worked together with Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472–1553). In Wittenberg he met Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) once again, whom he already knew from Venice and Nuremberg. The mythological wall paintings in the castle also stem from his time in Wittenberg, paintings which are now lost.
Jacopo de’Barbari worked for the Prince-Elector Joachim I of Brandenburg (1484–1535). In the year 1507, the portraits of the Prince-Elector and his first wife, Ursula, were done.
From 1509 on, de’Barbari was in the Netherlands. Here he was one of the commissioned artists whom Philipp of Burgundy had design his castle Suytburg anew. Already in 1510, he acted as court painter and "Valet de chambre" for the governor of the Netherlands, Margarete of Austria (1480–1530). After Jacopo de’Barbari became seriously ill in the summer of 1511, he received a yearly penion in the amount of 100 livres from the archduchess.
The artist died in Brussels in 1515 or 1516.