Artistul lunii mai 2022


Albrecht Dürer (1471 - 1528) was a German painter, printmaker, and theorist from Nuremberg. His still-famous works include the Apocalypse woodcuts, Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513), Saint Jerome in his Study (1514), and Melencolia I (1514), which has been the subject of extensive analysis and interpretation. His watercolors mark him as one of the first European landscape artists, while his ambitious woodcuts revolutionized the potential of that medium. Durer's introduction of classical motifs into Northern art, through his knowledge of Italian artists and German humanists, has secured his reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. This is reinforced by his theoretical treatise which involves principles of mathematics, perspective, and ideal proportions. His prints established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Renaissance in Northern Europe ever since.

His father, a talented goldsmith, taught him the basics of drawing and metalworking, including the skill of engraving. The boy's aptitude led to his being apprenticed from 1486 to 1489 to Nuremberg's leading painter, Michael Wolgemut.In addition to being a painter, Wolgemut was a prolific designer of woodcut prints, primarily used for book illustrations. His principal client was Anton Koberger, one of the leading publishers in Europe, as well as Dürer's godfather.  Following his apprenticeship, Dürer set out as a journeyman, traveling to great art centers in Germany and the Netherlands. His tour lasted four years. He had hoped to go to Colmar to meet Martin Schongauer, a famous painter and the leading engraver in Germany, but by the time Dürer arrived in Colmar, Schongauer had died. Fortunately, Schongauer's brothers gave Dürer access to the prints and drawings in his studio. Dürer went on to work with another of the brothers, a goldsmith in Basel.

Dürer's vast body of work includes engravings, his preferred technique in his later prints, altarpieces, portraits and self-portraits, watercolors, and books. The woodcuts series are more Gothic than the rest of his work. His well-known engravings include the three Meisterstiche (master prints) Knight, Death and the Devil (1513), Saint Jerome in his Study (1514), and Melencolia I (1514). His watercolors mark him as one of the first European landscape artists, while his woodcuts revolutionized the potential of that medium.

Dürer's introduction of classical motifs into Northern art, through his knowledge of Italian artists and German humanists, has secured his reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. This is reinforced by his theoretical treatises, which involve principles of mathematics, perspective, and ideal proportions.

Dürer exerted a huge influence on the artists of succeeding generations, especially in printmaking, the medium through which his contemporaries mostly experienced his art, as his paintings were predominantly in private collections located in only a few cities. His success in spreading his reputation across Europe through prints was undoubtedly an inspiration for major artists such as Raphael, Titian, and Parmigianino, all of whom collaborated with printmakers to promote and distribute their work.

His engravings seem to have had an intimidating effect upon his German successors; the "Little Masters" attempted few large engravings but continued Dürer's themes in small, rather cramped compositions. Lucas van Leyden was the only Northern European engraver to successfully continue to produce large engravings in the first third of the 16th century. The generation of Italian engravers who trained in the shadow of Dürer all either directly copied parts of his landscape backgrounds (Giulio Campagnola, Giovanni Battista Palumba, Benedetto Montagna, and Cristofano Robetta), or whole prints (Marcantonio Raimondi and Agostino Veneziano). However, Dürer's influence became less dominant after 1515, when Marcantonio perfected his new engraving style, which in turn traveled over the Alps to also dominate Northern engraving.

In painting, Dürer had relatively little influence in Italy, where probably only his altarpiece in Venice was seen, and his German successors were less effective in blending German and Italian styles. His intense and self-dramatizing self-portraits have continued to have a strong influence up to the present, especially on painters in the 19th and 20th centuries who desired a more dramatic portrait style. Dürer has never fallen from critical favor, and there have been significant revivals of interest in his works in Germany in the Dürer Renaissance of about 1570 to 1630, in the early nineteenth century, and in German nationalism from 1870 to 1945.[9]

The Lutheran Church commemorates Dürer annually on 6 April,[66] along with Michelangelo,[67] Lucas Cranach the Elder, and Hans Burgkmair.

Four Books on Human Proportion

Dürer's work on human proportions is called the Four Books on Human Proportion (Vier Bücher von menschlicher Proportion) of 1528.[70] The first book was mainly composed by 1512/13 and completed by 1523, showing five differently constructed types of both male and female figures, all parts of the body expressed in fractions of the total height. Dürer based these constructions on both Vitruvius and empirical observations of "two to three hundred living persons",[58] in his own words. The second book includes eight further types, broken down not into fractions but an Albertian system, which Dürer probably learned from Francesco di Giorgio's 'De harmonica Mundi totius' of 1525. In the third book, Dürer gives principles by which the proportions of the figures can be modified, including the mathematical simulation of convex and concave mirrors; here Dürer also deals with human physiognomy. The fourth book is devoted to the theory of movement.

Appended to the last book, however, is a self-contained essay on aesthetics, which Dürer worked on between 1512 and 1528, and it is here that we learn of his theories concerning 'ideal beauty. Dürer rejected Alberti's concept of objective beauty, proposing a relativist notion of beauty based on variety. Nonetheless, Dürer still believed that truth was hidden within nature and that there were rules which ordered beauty, even though he found it difficult to define the criteria for such a code. In 1512/13 his three criteria were function ('Nutz'), naïve approval ('Wohlgefallen'), and the happy medium ('Mittelmass'). However, unlike Alberti and Leonardo, Dürer was most troubled by understanding not just the abstract notions of beauty but also how an artist can create beautiful images. Between 1512 and the final draft in 1528, Dürer's belief developed from an understanding of human creativity as spontaneous or inspired to a concept of 'selective inward synthesis'.[58] In other words, an artist builds on a wealth of visual experiences in order to imagine beautiful things. Dürer's belief in the abilities of a single artist over inspiration prompted him to assert that "one man may sketch something with his pen on half a sheet of paper in one day or may cut it into a tiny piece of wood with his little iron, and it turns out to be better and more artistic than other works at which its author labors with the utmost diligence for a whole year".


"Albrecht - Deutsch-Übersetzung - Langenscheidt Französisch-Deutsch Wörterbuch" (in German and French). Langenscheidt. Retrieved 22 October 2018.

 Allen, L. Jessie (1903). Albrecht Dürer. Methuen. p. 180. Retrieved 4 December 2021.

Campbell, Angela and Raftery, Andrew. "Remaking Dürer: Investigating the Master Engravings by Masterful Engraving," Art in Print Vol. 2 No. 4 (November-December 2012).

Bongard, Willi; Mende, Matthias (1971). Dürer Today. Inter Nationes. p. 25. Retrieved 3 December 2021.

Conway, Sir William Martin; Conway, William Martin Sir; Dürer, Albrecht (1889). Literary Remains of Albrecht Dürer. University Press. p. 27. Retrieved 7 November 2021.

Durer, Albrecht (1528). "Hierinn sind begriffen vier Bucher von menschlicher Proportion durch Albrechten Durer von Nurerberg". Hieronymus Andreae Formschneider. Retrieved 6 August 2018. 


Style: Portraits  Pendant portraits Allegories

Genre: Devotional / Religious art