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Albrecht Dürer 1471-1528 BACK


Dürer was without a doubt the greatest artists of the Northern Renaissance. He was the first artist to paint a self portrait and to have done a landscape painting of a specific scene. The range and versatility of Dürer's work is astonishing. His woodcuts and engravings made him famous across Europe. He is still considered the greatest printmaker of all time. Dürer was equally successful with oil and painted various religious and secular subjects, along with some powerful portraits. As a man Dürer was rather arrogant and knew he was the equal to any artist in all of history. His motto was "As I can.'



An excerpt from The Catholic Encyclopedia
After the earliest works of his youth (portraits, Madonnas, coats-of-arms, landscape-sketches) he set up in 1494 a studio of his own. In the same year he married Agnes Frey but they had no children. Among his Nuremberg friends the learned humanist Willibald Pirkheimer held the first place. Besides great advancement in learning, Dürer owed to Pirkheimer the happiness of a lifelong friendship and the acquaintance with classical antiquity which he occasionally drew upon in his work. Dürer's art, however, with its sources in the German Middle Ages, remained essentially German; the influence of the art of Italy and the Netherlands was merely supplementary. In his own century there were few chances for mural paintings; but the demand for altar-pieces and portraits was all the greater. His woodcuts were eagerly sought after by the general public, his engravings on copper by connoisseurs. Among his fine compositions are: the Baumgartner altar-painting, the central panel of which represents the Adoration of the Christ Child, the wings the donors as Sts. George and Eustacious; the "Lamentation of Christ" in which the pathos is noteworthy; and the remarkable picture of himself (1500). These are preserved in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. The portrait of himself just mentioned is greatly idealized as is also that of a lady of the Furleger family. On the other hand in the portraits of his father and mother realism predominates. But here, as in the "Prodigal Son." and in his drawings, Dürer seeks to elevate his naturalism by sweet simplicity, depth of feeling, and grandeur of conception. The "Adoration of the Magi" in the Uffizi at Florence will bear comparison, at least for German taste, with the masterpieces of Italy and the Netherlands. Dürer's own woodcuts have a quality entirely their own; though without colouring, they yet produced the effect of colour. "The Apocalypse" (15 cuts) is distinguished by its daring fancy and grandeur of composition . The most striking of the series are: the "Four Riders", the "Angels of the Euphrates", and the "Battle of the Angels with the Dragon". To the same period belong, for the most part, the powerful "Larger Passion" (7, later 20, cuts) as well as the beautiful "Life of the Virgin" (16, later 20, cuts), in which the scenes from the life of the Holy Family in Egypt have all the sweetness of a charming idyll. Mention should be made of the so-called "Green Passion" in the Albertina Museum at Vienna, a series of twelve drawings with pen on green paper, also of the "Smaller Passion" of a later date in 37 woodcuts, and of the 17 copperplate engravings on the same subject. For the fifth time the artist came back to the Passion of Christ eight years before his death; a few sketches are to be found in the Uffizi at Florence and in the Albertina at Vienna. Wood and copperplate engraving were brought to great perfection by Dürer; the latter, and etchings as well, by his own work; the former by his directions to the wood-engravers who carried out his designs.







Image List



Christ as the Man of Sorrows, 1493

Self Portrait at 28, 1500

Wing of a Roller, 1512

The Four Holy Men, 1526


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This listing of artists is not official. It is merely intended to group the artists in an easy to navigate format.

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