Albrect Dürer By Emma Rosenbaum

Biography

Albrecht Dürer was artist, engraver, and theorist born on May 21, 1471, in Nuremberg, Bavaria, which is a state in modern day Germany. He died April 6, 1528, in Nuremberg.

Education & Lifestyle

Albrecht Dürer married Agnes Dürer née Frey, but they never had any children; Dürer made a few paintings of his wife. His father’s name was Albrecht the elder, and he moved to Nuremberg from Hungary in 1455. He married Barbara Holper, Dürer's mother.

Dürer learned a lot of his engraving skill from his father who was a goldsmith. Dürer trained under Michael Wolgemut, a painter and wood engraver from Nuremberg for 4 years starting when he was 15.

Dürer spent most of his life in Nuremberg, though he did travel a lot. He spent 2 years travelling from the Netherlands, France, and Switzerland, and 7 years in Venice. By journeying around the continent, Dürer learned a lot, and received a great deal of his education from that. Just by being on the road, he saw lots of nature and landscapes that he could put in his repertoire for later paintings. In Italy, Dürer learned a lot about Classical art, and the importance of art theory, such as the "isms."

Career

He was a painter and engraver of wood and metal, as well as an art theorist. In one example of his engravings of metal, Dream of the Doctor (1497-1498), Dürer portrays an interest in mythology. In one of his paintings, Oswolt Krell (1502-1504), Dürer shows his learning perspective from Venice. The Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin (1500-1505) demonstrates a combination Italian techniques and the custom Northern manner.

From left to right, there is "Dream of the Doctor," "Oswolt Krell," and "The Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin."

Dürer’s primary patron was the King of Rome, Emperor Maximilian I, from 1512 to 1519, when he died.

The four "isms" that apply best to Dürer are naturalism, humanism, perspectivism, and idealism. Naturalism is implemented a lot because he was into using lots of oil paints and textures in his engravings. He used humanism because he liked to play with human emotion and relationships in his pieces. A lot of his works involve perspectivism because they are three dimensional, and some the majority of his work was very realistic. Idealism was a learned skill; once he went to Italy, he started to integrate Italian idealism into German realism, which is indicated through some of his paintings where all of the people are portrayed as really beautiful.

Lamentation of Christ

The Lamentation of Christ was painted from 1500 to 1503 in Nuremberg, Bavaria. You could see this painting in the Alte Pinakothek museum in Munich, Germany. You read an excerpt of the painting here.

Description

This painting shows Christ after he is dead, surrounded by women and men who are getting him ready to be buried, and Mary. Everyone in the picture is looking at Christ (and Mary is looking in the distance) with a loss of hope. They all also have a sense of disbelief, like they can’t believe what just happened.

Significance

This piece is significant because Dürer liked to mix his heritage culture and the learned culture from Venice. Dürer was the first to mix both styles and had many followers after that. In Germany, during Dürer’s time, artists were still into techniques and ideas of the Middle Ages. Durer paints in this picture a very religious scene, and Mary is partially surrounded by gold (a Northern tradition). At the same time, Durer was inspired by the Italians, which is shown through the perspective (vanishing point in the back), humanistic characteristics (human emotion and relationships) and vibrant colors.

The important "isms"

Idealism is most closely linked to this piece, since it is one of the first pieces that Durer incorporates the purity and perfection from the Italian Renaissance with traditional Northern painting techniques. Humanism is also evident in this piece because the painting depicts the relationships Christ built with people. All of the people surrounding him definitely care about him, judging by the expressions painted on their faces.

Why I chose it

I really like this piece because it tells a story; though most pictures do, this one has a lot of commotion, which I find interesting. You can see the emotion in the surrounding women of lost hope and trying to find hope. I also really like how he combines the traditional German technique of painting realistic figures; everyone in the painting look very authentic, but, at the same time, there is the Italian standard of flawlessness and perfection, since everyone looks ideally beautiful. Dürer was the first to mix both styles and had many followers after that. I think it's cool that he a big part of his knowledge came from travelling, and that it gave him inspiration.

Works Cited

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