The humanist circle that Durer frequented included some of the greatest German minds of the time such as Konrad Celtis, poet Laureate and often dubbed the 'arch humanist'; the Augsburg humanist and diplomat Konrad Peutinger, who allowed all interested people access to his extensive library, including Durer; the classicist Konrad Peutinger; the theologian-poet Johann Cochlaus; the astronomer Niklas Kratzer who met Durer at Erasmus's house in the Netherlands; Benedictus Chelidonius
, the author of the Latin poetry that served as a text to Durer's Marienleban; and Beatus Rhenanus who was known as Erasmus's 'alter ego'.
The artist's collaboration with Benedictus Chelidonius
on the various Passion projects, according to the author, amounted to a new genre, the "humanist book of faith," and the monumental Four Holy Men (1526) can best be understood in the context of the artist's affinity for Erasmus and other humanists like Melanchthon at the expense of Luther.
Their author was Benedictus Chelidonius
, a cleric and minor humanist who was a member of the Nuremberg sodality to which Durer belonged and skilful in the varied forms of classical verse: a skill to which he apparently gave full rein.