It's safe to claim that printmaking, as we know it now regarding historical and modern art, would not exist without Albrecht Dürer. He was among the most well-known and renowned printmakers in art history because although he lived about 500 years ago. He is specially credited with bringing large-scale woodcuts into the category of fine art and the curriculum of art history.
Albrecht Dürer's reputation was based primarily on his prints and product art. However, he also obtained contracts to paint religious scenes and portraiture, and these paintings are still highly respected for their mastery of color and draughtsmanship. He was the most well-known Northern Renaissance painter who blended the Italian Renaissance's ideals of harmonization, coherence, and historical significance with a meticulously detailed Northern style, and he still maintains that title today.
Albrecht and Barbara Dürer's third child, Dürer, was born in Nuremberg on March 21, 1471. The family would have at least 14 other children and may have as many as 18. After leaving Ajtós, a wealthy goldsmith in Hungary near Gyula, in 1455, his father migrated to Nuremberg. His last name was changed from Ajtósi to Türer, which is German for "doormaker," from the Hungarian Ajtósi. The family name ultimately became known as Dürer because of the regional pronunciation.
Albrecht Dürer began his apprenticeship at his father's business at the age of 13, but his remarkable aptitude as a design that uses led to him starting an apprenticeship with the painter Michael Wolgemut at the age of 15, much to the dismay of his father at the time. Between 1486 and 1489, he trained under him.
He worked with other artists from 1490 to 1494 as a freelancer or traveler, as was customary at the time, to broaden his abilities and knowledge. Dürer returned to Nuremberg in July 1494 to wed Agnes Frey, a local coppersmith and lute maker's daughter. It is obvious from letters to his close friend Willibald Pirckheimer that the marriage, which Albrecht's parents sponsored, was not very happy because Dürer refers to Agnes as an "old crow" in one of the letters. The couple did not have any children. Nevertheless, Agnes played an important part in her husband's success by helping him sell his masterpieces at market stalls and fairs, accompanying him on some of his journeys, and managing his workshop while he was away.
Late in 1494, Dürer took his first journey to northern Italy, where he lived until 1495 and drew much of his motivation from the region's artistic culture. In the same year, he started his workshop upon his return to Nuremberg.
Due to his well-known Apocalypse series of woodcuts from 1498, Dürer's fame as an engraver quickly extended throughout Europe. He was very mindful of his artistic persona and authorship, as shown by the strong monogram on his autograph. Dürer's maker's mark was frequently faked as his paintings rose in value. It even spurred him to file a complaint with the Venetian authorities against the engraver Marcantonio Raimondi for frequently stealing his creations and forging his maker's mark before passing them off as original versions. The court eventually decided that Raimondi could continue to copy Dürer's work so long as he didn't copy the artist's logo. The case is renowned for being a key controversy in the history of intellectual property law.
Pirckheimer was regarded as Dürer's soulmate and confidant. He was an attorney and humanist who served on the Nuremberg city council and had significant contacts across Europe.
He was appointed to the Great Council in Nuremberg in 1509, establishing his social standing as a recognized local. Dürer maintained close ties to Nuremberg's humanists, including Pirckheimer, with whom he constantly examined his work and subject themes to ensure they were attractive to his educated audience.
Dürer's health rapidly degraded after 1519. His eyesight is impaired, and he has been claimed to have hand arthritis. Despite this, he kept traveling, reaching Brussels in 1520 and then the Netherlands. He had suffered an undiagnosed disease upon his return to Nuremberg in 1521, presumably malaria, which culminated in frequent fevers and greatly diminished his artistic output. He completed a few minor paintings and started several major religious pieces that were never completed. The Four Apostles (1526), his final important piece, was donated to Nuremberg.
Dürer penned treatises for which he also drew and engraved pictures during the final years of his life. He also became more fascinated with scientific subjects.
At age 56, Dürer passed away in Nuremberg on April 6, 1528. His wife acquired his sizable property, which included his Zisselgasse mansion, which is now a museum. The inscription on his gravestone, which was inscribed by his longtime friend Pirckheimer, says, "What was mortal of Albrecht Dürer is underneath this mound," and is located in the Johannisfriedhof graveyard. One of Dürer's students, Hans Baldung, obtained a lock of his hair, which is now conserved at the Vienna Academy of Arts. It's a morbid probability that some of his supporters covertly exhumed his body soon after passing to cast his hands and face in plaster.
Albrecht Dürer was proficient in many artistic mediums, such as painting and drawing, but during his lifetime, he attained the most notoriety as a printer. His prints were frequently circulated, and he made headlines across the continent. The Italian artists, particularly Raphael and Titian, were motivated to market this relatively new medium to market their names. They frequently commissioned printmakers to create a new set of their artwork. Other disciples (Marcantonio Raimondi, Agostino Veneziano) imitated Dürer's originals or incorporated landscape features into their backgrounds (Giulio Campagnola, Benedetto Montagna).
Many of his followers in Northern Europe never produced works of the same grandeur, instead specializing in smaller parts. The only other Dutch master of relatively high amounts of engravings was Lucas van Leyden.
Hans Schäufelin, Hans Baldung Grien, and Hans Süß von Kulmbach were three of Dürer's Nuremberg students who later became well-known painters. Dürer's paintings had less influence than his prints during his lifetime, mainly because most of them consisted of private commissions and so not widely available. But in more recent ages, the worth of his works has grown. Between 1870 and 1945, his paintings were especially revered in Germany because they were considered the pinnacle of German artistic achievement. His artwork served as the basis for Socialist Realism in the German Democratic Republic following World War Two.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse 1498
The horrific Apocalypse series by Dürer, which includes fifteen scenarios from the Book of Revelations, includes this third woodcut. The four Apocalyptic Riders are shown as the Old Testament portrays them. On their horses, Death, Famine, War, and Plague may be seen stamping on a bunch of unsuspecting individuals from left to right. An angel observes the action, with dramatic skies and light in the distance.
Self-Portrait with Fur-Trimmed Robe 1500
This portrayal of the artist as Christ in a painting could be seen as an extravagant, blasphemous assertion. Still, it is more likely an expression of faith and certainty in the writer's abilities. It depicts Albrecht Dürer, the artist, with the gifts that God gave him. The artist is addressing the viewer while being set against a white backdrop. With two fingers split apart, his right hand is raised to his bosom in what appears to be a blessed gesture. His monogram is displayed to his right, and his wavy hair reaches his shoulders. "Thus I, Albrecht Dürer from Nuremberg, painted myself with durable hues at 28," reads a Latin plaque to his left.
Young Hare 1502
The exceptional attention to detail and care that went into this study of a little wild animal acted as a model for the following scientific drawings. It remains a true and empathetic representation of a typical member of nature. It depicts a hare in a three-quarter view with its front legs slightly stretched and its hind legs folded beneath its body. The animal can be characterized as a grown wild hare, even though the piece of art is typically titled Young Hare.
Adam and Eve (the Fall of Man) 1504
In its daring portrayal of "man" and of nature, Dürer's portrayal of "the fall," the point in Christian mythology when the first two humans, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God and ingested food from the The
Tree of Knowledge remains remarkable. Shortly after the young artist returned from Italy, he created this engraved, which is more about his fascination with the Renaissance and his pride in his residence than the Genesis account. The figures in Adam and Eve (the Fall of Man) are based on the historical nudists and the exceptional human dimensions and positions suggested by Greco-Roman artists and architects of the time.
Portrait of Emperor Maximilian I 1519
Emperor Maximilian, I am seen in this 1519 oil painting in a half-length and quarter view against a green backdrop. In his left hand, he holds a pomegranate, which is a sign of abundance and of his dominion, with the pods standing in for his subjects. He is facing to the right. The emperor is dressed in a black outfit underneath a fur-trimmed robe. His black hat has a big brim and a broach on it. In the painting's upper left corner, the Order of the Golden Fleece's emblem and the Habsburg family coat of arms are both represented. The honors and virtues of the emperor are described in an equity inscription above him.