The Work of Albrecht Durer

Archetypal German renaissance artist Albrecht Durer truly lived up to the visionary creativity and incredible breadth of skill synonymous with the masters of the period.  Painter, print-maker, writer and theoretician, Durer made incredible, thorough records of his observations of nature that are as dynamic, engaging and life-like now as they ever were.  It is plain from his attention to detail and skilful application of paint and ink that Durer was an inquisitive and curious man and valued narrative and story-telling as much as aesthetics, beauty and realism.   He developed an understanding of classical motifs, depth, perspective and proportion during his study in Italy which accentuated his attention to surface detail and texture, a characteristic trait of Northern European artists.  His vast body of work ranges from epic altarpieces, woodcut prints and self portraits to copper engravings.   Though it is obvious from his incredible attention to detail and meticulous academic descriptive quality of his work, Durer also betrays a child-like fascination and affinity with nature and his published woodcut prints must surely have fuelled or ignited comparable enthusiasm in his audience.  Having trained as an apprentice to his goldsmith father and then with painter  Michael Wolgemut in his home town of Nuremberg, Durer began a strong foundation of skill and practical application in the strong artistic and commercial environment.  This base of technical ability and ingenuity meant the he elevated printmaking to the level of an independent art form by increasing its tonal range and developing an advanced and much imitated method in woodcut prints.  Having made influential friends by virtue of his accomplished, scholarly reputation in the academic and artistic world, he was made official court artist for Maximillian I and his successor Charles V, executing a wide range of projects.  Through his access to theologians and academic scholars, he embraced and reflected the principles of the reformation and left his mark with a number of monumental ornate altarpieces.  His self portraits let us see something of the man himself, whose self image was inquisitive, clear-eyed and foreboding, aware of his stature, talent and progress.

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