Hans Zatzka was born on March 8, 1859 in Vienna to a builder. He grew up in the 19th disctrict of Vienna, Breitenseer Strasze 2. (Throughout his life, he never left this home for a longer period of time)
His gift for fine arts already became apparent at an early age. He went to the Academy of Fine Arts from 1877 to 1882, where he studied under Prof. Blaas with much success and was awarded the Golden Fügermedal in 1880. He made several study trips to Italy, later he practised fresco, paitings in churches and portraits. He developed a special interest in genre pictures, ideal depictions of women and cupids
At the age of 26 he got his first significant, public engagement: the ceiling fresco at "Kurhaus Baden" in the vicinity of Vienna. Depicted was "The Naiad of Baden" (originally called "Badener Quellennymphe") with cupids and historical inscriptions.
Hans Zatzka lived on religious art, the painting of churches and altarpieces. He lived in his homely study; absorbed in his work, he never took apprentices or accepted teaching engagements.
The only opportunity his family had to see him was during meals. He painted until the age of 80. On Jul 9th, 1945, the Viennese then-vicemayor Kuntschak himself suggested in writing to subsecretary Prof. Dr. Karl Lugmayer at Minoritenplatz that the 87 year old painter be made professor
On August 16th, 1945 the headmaster of the Academy of Fine Arts reported that the professorial council had unanimously approved of the ministerial proposal.
It is unknown exactly when Hans Zatzka died but it is thought to have been either in 1945 or 1949.