Sculptor Jan Gregor van der Schardt (c. 1530-1581) was born in Nijmegen. He toured Italy in the 1560s, where he probably made copies of ancient sculptures. While he entered the service of Emperor Maximilian II in Vienna in 1569, Van der Schardt continued to take on private commissions in his home town of Nuremberg. For example, he made painted terracotta portraits of prominent fellow townsmen. He also made a similar self portrait in around 1573: a famous work that is one of the earliest known self portraits by a sculptor.
After Maximilian died in 1576, Van der Schardt moved to the Danish court. In 1579, he returned to Nuremberg. Despite the lack of direct evidence for his presence after 1581, it is assumed that Van der Schardt came back to Denmark to work in the 1580s and that he died there in the early 1590s.