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Then his restless striving finally found definite direction. He seems clearly to be on firm ground in the penetrating half-length portraits of Oswolt Krel Alte Pinakothek, Munich , in the portraits of three members of the aristocratic Tucher family of Nuremberg - all dated - and in the Portrait of a Young Man of Alte Pinakothek. Initially, the most concentrated result of his efforts was the great engraving Adam and Eve in which he sought to bring the mystery of human beauty to an intellectually calculated ideal form. One of his most significant classical endeavours is his painting Altar of the Three Kings , which was executed with the help of pupils.

Albrecht Dürer – Master of Northern Renaissance

From this maturity of style comes the bold, natural, relaxed conception of the centre panel, The Adoration of the Magi Uffizi , and the ingenious and unconventional realism of the side panels, once believed to belong to this altarpiece, one of which depicts the Drummer and Piper and the other Job and His Wife Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne.

However, the side panels belong to the Jabach altarpiece, the cenral panel of which is lost. Once again he spent most of his time in Venice. In the painting the inscription on the scrap of paper out of the book held by the old man in the foreground reads, "Opus quinque dierum" "the work of five days". Of even greater artistic merit than this quickly executed work are the half-length portraits of young men and women painted between and , which seem to be entirely in the style of Bellini.

Among the paintings belonging to the period after his second return from Italy are Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand and Adoration of the Trinity , which are both crowd scenes. Even greater simplicity and grandeur characterize the diptych of Adam and Eve ; Prado , in which the two figures stand calmly in relaxed classical poses against dark, almost bare, backgrounds.

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Both of these works are characterized by their tendency toward spaciousness and serenity. The extensive, complex, and often contradictory literature concerning these three engravings deals largely with their enigmatic, allusive, iconographic details. Although repeatedly contested, it probably must be accepted that the engravings were intended to be interpreted together. Finished form and richness of conception and mood merge into a whole of classical perfection.

He collaborated with several of the greatest German artists of the day on a set of marginal drawings for the emperor's prayer book. He also completed a number of etchings in iron between and that demonstrate his mastery of the medium and his freedom of imagination. In contrast to these pleasing improvisations are the monumental woodcuts, overloaded with panegyrics, made for Maximilian. Besides a number of formal show pieces - a painting entitled Lucretia ; Alte Pinakothek , and two portraits of the emperor c.

He also traveled. In the fall of he stayed in Bamberg. In the summer of he went to Augsburg where he met Martin Luther, who had in the previous year circulated his Ninety-five Theses denouncing the sale of papal indulgences. An angel oversees the scene, with dramatic clouds and rays of light in the background. In the Bible the three riders are mainly distinguished by their horses' colors.

Death is furthermore distinguishable as an old haggard man with a beard on an emaciated horse. The four figures are riding next to each other but are in slightly overlapping positions, denoting their order of appearance in the text. Death as the last to enter the scene brings with him Hell, depicted in the form of a wide-mouthed monster, who swallows a man wearing a bishop's miter and crown.

The clergy and nobility are devastated by the Apocalypse just as the rest of society.

Museums in Antwerp and Aachen plan major exhibition on Albrecht Dürer in 2020-21

Their contemporary clothing makes it easy for the 16 th- century viewer to imagine their own suffering ahead. Apocalyptic scenes became particularly popular in the years leading up to , which was predicted by many to be the time of the Second Coming of Christ. In the woodcuts also became available to purchase as single-sheet works. Today the prints still survive in large numbers, which indicates that they were produced on a big scale, probably to meet their increasing demand and popularity, and circulated widely.

The diagonal shape formed by the riders placed on top of the minutely thin horizontal lines that create the dark background gives the scene a sense of forward-thrusting dynamic. This work, as well as the accompanying illustrations of this series, shows the artist's unrivalled ability to achieve in the so often crude unwieldy woodcut medium the same kind of fine dynamism and depth of expression as in a drawing. Set against a plain background, the artist is directly facing the viewer. His right hand is lifted to his chest with two fingers spread apart, reminiscent of a gesture of blessing.

His curly hair falls to his shoulders and his monogram is emblazoned prominently to his right.

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And given the Apocalyptic year of the work, the painting would therefore have been a strong expression of the artist's self-awareness as a devout Christian. It shows a hare in three-quarter view, its hind legs folded underneath its body, with the front legs slightly extended forwards. Although the work usually bears the title Young Hare , the animal can be identified as a mature wild hare. Young Hare is, however, not simply a scientific study of an animal. The work contains an innate tension, created by the contrast between the subject and its depiction: a hare is a notoriously restless animal, fleeing when approached too closely.

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The artist has captured the hare in a fleeting moment of stillness. The slight turn of its ear and the eye that's fixing the viewer, however, indicate that the animal has noticed us.

Its hind legs are bent, ready to jump. Whether the artist sketched a hare in the wild and completed the final piece with a dead specimen, or he kept a live animal in his studio is a question yet to be solved. The left eye reflects what seems to be a window. The prominent monogram and date indicate that the artist perceived the drawing as a complete work in its own right rather than a sketch. This engraving was made shortly after the young artist returned from Italy, and is more about his own interest in the Renaissance, combined with a pride in his own home, than the story in the book of Genesis.

In Adam and Eve the Fall of Man the figures are based on classical nudes, and the ideal human proportions and poses as proposed by Greco-Roman artists and architects of the time. The wild foliage behind the couple bears resemblance to German forests, which the artist would have been familiar with and thus he literally places Italian figures within his local environment. A parrot is perched on the end of the branch. The sound that parrots make was then interpreted as 'Ave Maria', and thus the birds were symbols of the Holy Virgin Mary, who is signified here as the woman who later compensates for Eve's original sin in Catholicism.

As well as the snake, which is literally the devil according to the Bible, each animal has a particular symbolism. The rabbit, cat, and elk, represent the four 'humors'. According to Ancient Greek and Roman doctors and philosophers, there are four distinct bodily fluids in each person, and that an excess or deficiency in any one of these humors directly correlates with personality and health.

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Again, the artist ironically uses the Biblical story of the fall of 'man', the failure and expulsion, to illustrate human beings' scientific and philosophical successes and ideals. It shows the Virgin Mary surrounded by a large group of male figures and putti. She is being crowned with a wreath of roses by two cherubim whilst holding the Christ child on her lap. Several more figures surround the throne. They are mostly believed to be members of the German community in Venice.

The Feast of the Rosary is one of the most impressive results of the cultural relations between sixteenth-century Venice and the artistic centers north of the Alps. It skillfully combines characteristics of Northern-European art such as the highly detailed composition and the landscape in the background, with Venetian elements like the Sacra Conversazione motif and musical angels, which can be found in works by Giovanni Bellini such as his San Zaccaria Altarpiece By combining materials, techniques and pictorial elements from both Northern and Italian schools of painting, fusing the Venetian obsession with color and light with the German conventions of a religious altarpiece, he successfully bridges the gap between both Northern and Italian schools of painting.

Commissioned by a group of German merchants for the church of San Bartolomeo in Rialto, the presence of Venetian elements in a German-made artwork takes on more significance as it let patrons show their loyalty to the state of Venice while at the same time expressing their patriotism. Being an established artist in his home, but having not quite found the same fame in Italy, he strove to prove his value to the Italian market.

He himself was clearly satisfied with his work, writing to Pirckheimer that he had "silenced all those painters, who had said, I was good at engraving but at painting did not know how to handle colors. This sketch is made with ink and pencil on blue paper that the artist made himself and was produced not as a standalone work, but merely a preliminary drawing towards an altarpiece commissioned by Jacob Heller in The altarpiece depicted the coronation of the Virgin Mary for a church in Frankfurt.

These hands are drawn towards those of an apostle kneeling next to Mary's tomb. The altarpiece was destroyed in a fire in , although Jobst Harrich made a close copy in the s, which is on display in Albertina Museum in Vienna. Around the s, a fable arose about the hands in this sketch, postulating that they were the hands of the artist's brother, worn from hard work and immortalized in this drawing. However, it is much more likely that the artist modeled the drawing on his own hands, and similar hands can be seen throughout his oeuvre.

These floating, praying hands are extremely significant in the history of religious symbolism and remain so popular due to the way they might belong to almost anyone - with the rough shirtsleeves suggesting a worker or everyday man, as opposed to an important priest or scholar. Melencolia I forms part of a group of three plates called Meisterstiche Master Engravings from , the other two titled St. In this composition, a winged female figure is deep in contemplation, absent-mindedly holding a compass in her right hand. She wears a wreath and is surrounded by numerous objects, all of which have a particular symbolic meaning.

A sad-looking putto sits behind her; an emaciated dog rests by her feet. A flying bat in the sky holds up a banner that states the title. Melencolia I is an archaic spelling of Melancholia, or profound and unnatural sadness. In the Renaissance, melancholy was also believed to be closely linked to creative genius. The hourglass, a well-known symbol for the transience of life, the ladder with no clear beginning or end, and the empty scales speak of apathy and aimlessness.

The polyhedron seems to play on the famous Renaissance artistic concept of linear perspective, throwing it into confusion. Both the personification of Melancholia and the putto have wings, but are firmly grounded on earth, their thoughts too heavy to let them fly.


Albrecht Dürer | Melencolia I | The Met

Even the dog seems too thin and weak to get up. The image radiates defeat and paralysis, chaos and helplessness. The woodcut shows the artist's interpretation of an Indian Rhinoceros depicted from the side standing on a small patch of soil. An inscription on the top reads in translation: 'On 1 May [this should read ] was brought from India to the great and powerful king Emanuel of Portugal at Lisbon a live animal called a rhinoceros.

Information from the curators, 12 June 2016

His form is here represented. It has the color of a speckled tortoise and it is covered with thick scales. It is like an elephant in size, but lower on its legs and almost invulnerable. It has a strong sharp horn on its nose which it sharpens on stones. The stupid animal is the elephant's deadly enemy.