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lbrecht Dürer

Part 1: Paintings, Drawings


Adoration of the Trinity

Virgin and Child with Saint Anne

Virgin and Child

Saint Jerome


Adam and Eve

All Saints' Day

Old woman with purse

Adoration of the Magi

Adoration of the Magi

Adoration of the Magi , detail

Apostle James

Apostle Philip

Praying Mary

Lamentation of Christ

Jerome Penitent

The death of Crescentia Pirckheimer

The twelve- year-old Jesus among the Doctors

The Fürlegerin with braided hair

The Fürlegerin with loose hair

The Madonna with the pear slice

The Seven Sorrows of Mary : Circumcision of Christ

The Seven Sorrows of Mary : Christ on the Cross

The Seven Sorrows of Mary : The Twelve- Year-Old Jesus in the Temple

The Seven Sorrows of Mary : Lamentation of Christ

The Seven Sorrows of Mary : Flight to Egypt

The Seven Sorrows of Mary : Cross Nailing

The Seven Sorrows of Mary : Cross

The Seven Sorrows of Mary : Our Lady of Sorrows

The Saints John and Peter

The Saints Mark and Paul

Three king altar , detail

Three king altar , detail

Dresden Altar: St Anthony

Dresdner altar : St. Sebastian

Ecce Homo


Holy Family

St. Jerome

Holy Onophrius

Heller- Altar: Martyrdom of St James

Heller- Altar: The founder Jacob Heller

Heller- Altar: Martyrdom of St. Catherine

Heller- Altar: The Strifterin Catherine Heller

Heller- Altar: Reconstruction of the open altar

Hercules and the Stymphalian Birds

Jabach altar : Job mocked by his wife

Jabach altar : Saint Simeon and Lazarus

Jesus boy with globe

Virgin and Child with St. Anne

Emperor Charlemagne

Inclined boys head to the left

Inclined boys head to the right

Head of Mary

Head of a bearded child

Head of a Man

Landauer Altar: Adoration of the Trinity

Lot's escape


Madonna with the Siskin

Male portrait in front of a green background

Mary with the squatting child

Maria with the child

Madonna with the Carnation

Mary with Child

Mary with child in front of an archway

Madonna and Child before a Landscape

Marie altar , middle picture , scene: Mary with Child

Marie altar , middle picture and wings , General View

Martyrdom of ten thousand Christians

Nuremberg, mastermind mill on the Pegnitz

Nuremberg, St. John's suburb with church and cemetery from the north

Nuremberg, fishpond on the Pegnitz River in St. John's

Nuremberg, the western part of the city from the south

Paumgartner Altar , General View

Paumgartner Altar : Medium Image : Nativity

Paumgartner Altar , right wing: St. Eustace

Portrait of Albrecht Durer the Elder

Portrait of Albrecht Durer the Elder

Portrait of Barbara Dürer , born Holper

Portrait of Elsbeth Tucher

Portrait of Felicitas Tucher

Portrait of Burkard von Speyer

Portrait of Frederick the Wise

Portrait of Hans Tucher

Portrait of Hieronymus Holzschuher

Portrait of Jacob Muffel

Portrait of Jakob Fugger

Portrait of Johannes Kleberger

Portrait of Emperor Sigismund

Portrait of Emperor Maximilian I.

Portrait of Emperor Maximilian I

Portrait of Michael Wolgemut

Portrait of Oswald Krell

Portrait of Rodrigo de Almada

Portrait of a young woman

Portrait of a Venetian Woman

Portrait of a bearded man in a red cap

Portrait of a clergyman

Portrait of a young girl with a red beret

Portrait of a young man

Portrait of a young man

Portrait of a young man

Portrait of a young man against green background

Portrait of an Unknown

Portrait of an unknown man with red Schaube

Rosary altar

Salvator Mundi

Suicide of Lucretia




Valley of Kalckreuth

Pond in the forest

Wonderful salvation of a drowned boy


"The Great Calvary "

"The Great Calvary " , detail

"The Great Calvary " , detail

Last Supper

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve

Count Albrecht of Habsburg

Ambras Art Book: Allegory of the eloquence (Hermes with four earthly figures : woman, warrior , scholar and citizen )

Ambras Art Book: Arion

Ambras Art Book: nymph

Ambras Art Book: Venus and Cupid

Adoration of the Magi

Adoration of the Magi

Anne with Two Others

View of Arco

View of Bergen op Zoom





Apostle Bartholomew

Apostle Jude Thaddeus

Arm of Eva

Arm of Lucretia

Arm and hand studies

Bacchanale with Silenus

bearded man

Farmer with goose as a fountain figure

Fortification between the mountains and sea

Lamentation of Christ

Lamentation of Christ

Lamentation of Christ

Lamentation of Christ

Christ on the Mount of Olives

Christ on the Mount of Olives

Christ on the Mount of Olives

Christ on the Mount of Olives

Christ on the Mount of Olives , unfinished

Christ and Magdalene

Christ Child

The Cathedral of Aachen

The Town Hall in Aachen

The choir of the Groote Kerk in Bergen op Zoon

The large table fountain

The great triumphal chariot

The great triumphal chariot , detail

The great triumphal chariot , detail

The great triumphal chariot , detail : The Bohemian Trophy

The great triumphal chariot , detail : The French Trophy

The great triumphal chariot , detail : The Hungarian trophy

The great triumphal chariot , detail: the Welsh Trophy

The great triumphal chariot , detail: the Welsh Trophy

The great triumphal chariot , detail : old man on horseback (John Stabius , Poet Laureate Maximillian ? ) As a Standard Bearer

The great triumphal chariot , detail : Young rider as ring bearer

The great triumphal chariot , detail : camp-followers of different nations

The port of Antwerp during Scheldetor

The small chariot

The small chariot , detail

The Tiergarten in Brussels

The Dead Christ with crown of thorns

The dry dock in Nuremberg

The Justice of Trajan

The Holy Trinity

Three " powerful " women from Livland

Three children's heads

A lobster

One of the wise virgins

Endres Dürer, brother of the painter , in profile

Angel with Lute

Angel Fair

Design for the Fugger Chapel in Augsburg: The Resurrection

Design for the Fugger Chapel in Augsburg: The Resurrection

Design for the Fugger Chapel in Augsburg: Simson with the doors of Gaza

Design for the Fugger Chapel in Augsburg: Samson fighting the Philistines

Design for the Fugger Chapel in Augsburg: Samson fighting the Philistines

Design for the Fugger Chapel in Augsburg: Samson fighting the Philistines

Design for a book character : Crane

Design for a book sign: Lion

Draft of a court dress

Draft of a court dress

Draft of a court dress

Design for All Saints' Day

Designs to a " Passion of the Christ " : Christ on the Mount of Olives

Designs to a " Passion of the Christ " : Christ Carrying the Cross

Designs to a " Passion of the Christ " : Christ Carrying the Cross with Saint Veronica

Designs to a " Passion of the Christ " : Christ Entombment

Designs to a " Passion of the Christ " : Christ Entombment

Fencing end rider

Rock study with hikers

River Landscape

Women from Bergeb and Goes

Women Bath

Women Bath

Rape of women


birth of Mary

Winning Holy Martyr

Society on horseback

Robe study

Entombment of Christ

Hands of the 12 year old Christ


Holy Family

Holy Family in the Room

Holy Family in the arbor

Holy Family in a hall

Holy Family with angels under a tall tree

Holy Family

Holy Family

Crowned Holy Kinship by two angels


Hercules and the stymphalic birds

St. Agnes

St. Anne

St. Anne ( Portrait of Agnes Dürer)

St. Apollonia

St. Barbara

St. Christopher

St. Christopher

St. Fridolin

St. Jerome

St. Catherine

St. Catherine and the Hangman

St. Magdalene under the Cross

St. Margaret

St. Martin

St. Paul

St. Paul

Irish soldiers and farmers

Young couple

Youth with hangman

judgment Day


Fighting See centaurs

child's head

Head of Mary

Head of the twelve year old Christ

Head of a Woman

Head of a Young Woman

Head of a laughing woman

Head of an African

Head of an old man in profile

Head of a child

Head of a boy

Head of a suffering man

Head of a Roebuck

Head of a walrus

female heads

Head study of a man

The Crucifixion

Christ Carrying the Cross

Soldiers under the cross

men of war


Landsknecht , Back Figure

Corpse of Christ

reading Mary

Reclining nude


Girl in costume by Cologne and Portrait of Agnes Dürer

Madonna with the many animals

Madonna with angels under a canopy

Man with drill

Male Nude (Adam)

Male Nude ( Self-Portrait)

Male Nude , known as Apollo Poynter


Madonna with the apple

Maria lactans

Madonna with the many animals

Mary with child wound on the grassy bank

Mary with Child

Mary with Child

Mary with the Child on the grassy bank

Maria playing with baby on the grassy bank and violin angels

Maria crowned with child on the grassy bank , by an angel

Mary with child in half figure

Madonna and Child with the little St. John

Madonna and Child with bagpipers

Mary and Child with Angels

Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist

Madonna and Child with angels playing instruments

Mary with the Child , crowned by an angel and St. Anna

Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand

Maximilian prayer book

Maximilian prayer book

Mass of Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg in the collegiate church in Halle

Crescent Madonna

Nude woman ( woman bathing ? )

Nude man with mirror

Nuremberg virgin in dance dress

From Nuremberg in house dress

From Nuremberg in house dress

From Nuremberg in the church Dress

From Nuremberg in dance dress

Nuremberg and Venetian

Groom on horseback


perspectivist study

Portrait of Albrecht Durer the Elder .

Portrait of African Katherina

Portrait of Agnes Dürer

Portrait of Agnes Dürer in dutch costume

Portrait of Margaret of Brandenburg -Ansbach

Portrait of the Artist's Mother

Portrait of Susanne von Brandenburg -Ansbach (?)

Portrait of Arnold of Blessed city , asleep

Portrait of Barent van Orley

Portrait of Caspar tower and a river landscape

Portrait of Christian II, King of Denmark

Portrait of Conrat Verkell

Portrait of Dürer Endres , brother of the painter

Portrait of Eobanus Hesse

Portrait of Erasmus of Rotterdam

Portrait of Hans Pfaffrot of Gdansk

Portrait of Captain Felix Hungersperg

Portrait of Captain Felix Hungersperg , kneeling

Portrait of Henry Parker, Lord Morley

Portrait of Jakob Fugger

Portrait of Jobst Plankfelt

Portrait of Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg

Portrait of Cardinal Lang of Wellenburg

Portrait of Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg

Portrait of Elector Frederick the Wise

Portrait of Lazarus Ravensburger and the turrets of the court of Lier in Antwerp

Portrait of Lucas Cranach the Elder

Portrait of Lukas van Leyden

Portrait of Marx Ulstat and the beautiful maiden in Antwerp

Portrait of Matthew Landauer

Portrait of Paul Topler and Martin Pfinzig

Portrait of Rodrigo d' Almada

Portrait of Rodrigo Fernandez d' Almada

Portrait of Ulrich Starck

Portrait of Ulrich Varnbuler

Portrait of Willibald Pirckheimer

Portrait of a woman

Portrait of a woman ( Agnes Dürer ? )

Portrait of a woman from Brussels

Portrait of a woman ( Creszentia Pirckheimer ? )

Portrait of a young woman

Portrait of a Windisch (?) Farmer's wife

Portrait of an eighteen- year-old man

Portrait of a goldsmith from Mechelen

Portrait of a young man

Portrait of a young man

Portrait of a young man

Portrait of a girl

Portrait of a man

Portrait of a man

Portrait of a man

Portrait of a man ( Damian van der Goes ? )

Portrait of a man (John Stabius ? )

Portrait of a Man (Konrad Peutinger ? )

Portrait of a man with cap

Portrait of a man ( Paulus Hofhaimer or Hans Tucher ? )

Portrait of a man (Sebastian Brant ? )

Portrait of a twenty-four year-old man and a view of St. Michel in Antwerp

Portrait of Hans Burgkmair the Elder

Portrait of Emperor Maximilian I.

Presentation of Christ in the Temple , unfinished

Rider in armor


Rest on the Flight

Rest on the Flight to Egypt

Scheibenriß : Riding Death

Scheibenriß : Sixtus Tucher at open grave

Scheibenriß : Tafelnde society and death

Scheibenrißentwurf : St. George

man of Sorrows

Saviour Blessing


Self Portrait as a thirteen- year-old boy

Caricature for Lazarus Spengler



Study for St. Apollonia

head Study

Study on the "Four Apostles " : apostles

Study on the "Four Apostles " : John

Study on the "Four Apostles " : Head of Markus

Study on the "Four Apostles " : head of Paul

Study on the "Four Apostles " : head of Peter

Study of a Christ on the Mount of Olives

Study of a body of Christ

Study on the " Heller-Altar " : soles of an Apostle

Study on the " Heller-Altar " : Christ's robe

Study on the " Heller-Altar " : garment of God the Father

Study on the " Heller-Altar " : garment of God the Father

Study on the " Heller-Altar " : garment studies

Study on the " Heller-Altar " : Hands of an Apostle

Study on the " Heller-Altar " : Hands of God the Father

Study on the " Heller-Altar " : Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin

Study on the " Heller-Altar " : Kneeling Apostle

Study on the " Heller-Altar " : Head of an Apostle

Study on the " Heller-Altar " : Head of an Apostle

Study on the " Heller-Altar " : Head of an Apostle

Study on the " Heller-Altar " : Head of an Apostle

Study on the " Heller-Altar " : Head of an Apostle

Study on the " Heller-Altar " : Left Hand of an Apostle

Study on the " Heller-Altar " : upper body of Christ

Study on the " Heller-Altar " : Right Hand of an Apostle

Study on the " Heller-Altar " : Standing Apostles

Study on the " Holy Jerome " : Head of a 93 old man

Study on the " Holy Jerome " : lectern with books

Study on the " Holy Jerome " : Left Arm

Study on the " Holy Jerome " : skull

Study on the " Ober St. Veit altar " : Christ on the Cross

Study on the " Ober St. Veit Altar " : The good thief

Study on the " Ober St. Veit altar " : Calvary

Study on the " Feast of the Rosary " : Christ Child

Study on the " Feast of the Rosary " : The coat of the Pope

Study on the " Feast of the Rosary " : St. Dominic

Donors Portrait

Study on the " Feast of the Rosary " : Head of an Angel

Study on the " Feast of the Rosary " : Head of a Pope

Portrait of an architect

Study on the " St. Veiter Altar " : The evil thief

Study for great happiness

Study on the "Great Crucifixion " : Christ on the Cross

Study on the "Great Crucifixion " : St. John

Study on the "Great Crucifixion " : St. Magdalena

Study on the "Great Crucifixion " : child's head

Study on the "Great Crucifixion " : Weeping Angel Boy

Studies on a great " picture of Mary " : St. Joseph

Studies on a great " picture of Mary " : St. Catherine

Studies on a great " picture of Mary " : head of a young girl

Studies on a great " picture of Mary " : head with curly hair ( angel )

Studies on a great " picture of Mary ' : Girl head and pair of hands

Studies on a great " picture of Mary " : Mary with the Child , Saints and Angels playing music

Studies on a great " picture of Mary " : Mary with the Child , Saints and Angels playing music

Studies on a great " picture of Mary " : Mary with the Child , Saints and Angels playing music

Studies on a great " picture of Mary " : Mary with the Child , Saints and Angels playing music

Studies on a great " picture of Mary ' : Musician Angels

Studies on a great " picture of Mary " : Enthroned Madonna and Child, ten saints and angels

Studies on a Calvary

Studies of two riders

Study sheet with Christ as the Man of Sorrows and a robe study

Study sheet with the Rape of Europa

Study sheet with five nude figures

Study sheet with children's heads

Study sheet with Mary and Child

Study sheet with Madonna and Child, hand and sleeve

Study sheet with a nude couple and the Devil

Study sheet with fools , Faun , Phoenix and Deer Hunting

Study sheet with six nude figures

Study sheet with self- Portrait, Hand and Pillow

Study sheet with hijacked Animals

Sultan Soliman

Table and jugs

Death of Orpheus

Death of Mary

Death and woman

Death and rider



Venus on a dolphin




The Temptation of St. Anthony

Ornaments for three spoons stalks

Ornaments for two dippers


Coat of arms with man behind the open

Coat of Arms Pirckheimer

Female Nude

Female Nude

Female Nude

Female Nude , back figure

Female standing nude with baton in the right


Windis farmer

Drawing after the " Tarocchi " : The wisdom

Drawing after the " Tarocchi " : The Muse Thalia

Drawing a result of the so-called " Green Passion " : The Arrest of Christ

Drawing a result of the so-called " Green Passion " : Christ before Pilate

Drawing a result of the so-called " Green Passion " : Christ before Caiaphas

Drawing a result of the so-called " Green Passion " : Flagellation of Christ

Drawing a result of the so-called " Green Passion " : Christ Crowned with Thorns

Drawing a result of the so-called " Green Passion " : Ecce homo

Drawing a result of the so-called " Green Passion " : Christ Carrying the Cross

Drawing a result of the so-called " Green Passion " : Kreuzannagelung Christ

Drawing a result of the so-called " Green Passion " : Christ on the Cross

Drawing a result of the so-called " Green Passion " : Deposition from the Cross

Drawing a result of the so-called " Green Passion " : Lamentation of Christ

Drawing a result of the so-called " Green Passion ," Draft: Christ on the Mount of Olives

Drawing a result of the so-called " Green Passion ," Draft: Christ Carrying the Cross

Drawing a result of the so-called " Green Passion ," Draft: Arrest of Christ

Drawing a result of the so-called " Green Passion ," Draft: Arrest of Christ

Drawing a result of the so-called " Green Passion ," Draft: Christ before Caiaphas

Drawing a result of the so-called " Green Passion ," Draft: Christ before Pilate

Drawing a result of the so-called " Green Passion ," Design: Crowning with Thorns

Two castles

Two Venetian women

Part 2: Illustrations

Albrecht Dürer (German pronunciation: [ˈalbʁɛçt ˈdyːʁɐ]; 21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528)[1] was a German painter, printmaker and theorist from Nuremberg. 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 Northern Renaissance ever since. His well-known 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 watercolours mark him as one of the first European landscape artists, while his ambitious 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, have secured his reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. This is reinforced by his theoretical treatise, which involve principles of mathematics, perspective and ideal proportions.

Early life (1471–90)

Dürer was born on 21 May 1471, third child and second son of his parents, who had between fourteen and eighteen children. His father was a successful goldsmith, originally named Ajtósi, who in 1455 had moved to Nuremberg from Ajtós, near Gyula in Hungary. The German name "Dürer" is derived from the Hungarian, "Ajtósi". Initially, it was "Thürer," meaning doormaker, which is "ajtós" in Hungarian (from "ajtó", meaning door). A door is featured in the coat-of-arms the family acquired. Albrecht Dürer the Elder married Barbara Holper, the daughter of his master, when he himself became a master in 1467.[2]

Dürer's godfather was Anton Koberger, who left goldsmithing to become a printer and publisher in the year of Dürer's birth. He quickly became the most successful publisher in Germany, eventually owning twenty-four printing-presses and having many offices in Germany and abroad. His most famous publication was the Nuremberg Chronicle, published in 1493 in German and Latin editions. It contained an unprecedented 1,809 woodcut illustrations (with many repeated uses of the same block) by the Wolgemut workshop. Dürer may well have worked on some of these, as the work on the project began while he was with Wolgemut.[3]

It is fortunate Dürer left autobiographical writings and that he became very famous by his mid-twenties. Because of this, his life is well-documented by several sources. After a few years of school, Dürer started to learn the basics of goldsmithing and drawing from his father. Though his father wanted him to continue his training as a goldsmith, he showed such a precocious talent in drawing that he started as an apprentice to Michael Wolgemut at the age of fifteen in 1486. A self-portrait, a drawing in silverpoint, is dated 1484 (Albertina, Vienna) “when I was a child," as his later inscription says. Wolgemut was the leading artist in Nuremberg at the time, with a large workshop producing a variety of works of art, in particular woodcuts for books. Nuremberg was then an important and prosperous city, a centre for publishing and many luxury trades. It had strong links with Italy, especially Venice, a relatively short distance across the Alps.[3]

Wanderjahre and marriage (1490–94)

After completing his term of apprenticeship, Dürer followed the common German custom of taking Wanderjahre — in effect gap year — in which the apprentice learned skills from artists in other areas; Dürer was to spend about four years away. He left in 1490, possibly to work under Martin Schongauer, the leading engraver of Northern Europe, but who died shortly before Dürer's arrival at Colmar in 1492. It is unclear where Dürer travelled in the intervening period, though it is likely that he went to Frankfurt and the Netherlands. In Colmar, Dürer was welcomed by Schongauer's brothers, the goldsmiths Caspar and Paul and the painter Ludwig. In 1493 Dürer went to Strassbourg, where he would have experienced the sculpture of Nikolaus Gerhaert. Dürer's first painted self-portrait (now in the Louvre) was painted at this time, probably to be sent back to his fiancé in Nuremberg.[3]

In early 1492 Dürer travelled to Basel to stay with another brother of Martin Schongauer, the goldsmith Georg.[4] Very soon after his return to Nuremberg, on 7 July 1494, at the age of 23, Dürer was married to Agnes Frey following an arrangement made during his absence. Agnes was the daughter of a prominent brass worker (and amateur harpist) in the city. However, no children resulted from the marriage.

First journey to Italy (1494–95)

Within three months Dürer left for Italy, alone, perhaps stimulated by an outbreak of plague in Nuremberg. He made watercolour sketches as he traveled over the Alps. Some have survived and others may be deduced from accurate landscapes of real places in his later work, for example his engraving Nemesis. These are the first pure landscape studies known in Western art.[3]

In Italy, he went to Venice to study its more advanced artistic world.[5] Through Wolgemut's tutelage, Dürer had learned how to make prints in drypoint and design woodcuts in the German style, based on the works of Martin Schongauer and the Housebook Master.[5] He also would have had access to some Italian works in Germany, but the two visits he made to Italy had an enormous influence on him. He wrote that Giovanni Bellini was the oldest and still the best of the artists in Venice. His drawings and engravings show the influence of others, notably Antonio Pollaiuolo with his interest in the proportions of the body, Mantegna, Lorenzo di Credi and others. Dürer probably also visited Padua and Mantua on this trip.[6]
[edit] Return to Nuremberg (1495–1505)
Melencolia I, 1514, Albrecht Dürer engraving

On his return to Nuremberg in 1495, Dürer opened his own workshop (being married was a requirement for this). Over the next five years his style increasingly integrated Italian influences into underlying Northern forms. Dürer lost both of his parents during the next decade: his father died in 1502 and his mother died in 1513.[7] His best works in the first years of the workshop were his woodcut prints, mostly religious, but including secular scenes such as The Men's Bath House (ca. 1496). These were larger than the great majority of German woodcuts hitherto, and far more complex and balanced in composition.

It is now thought unlikely that Dürer cut any of the woodblocks himself; this task would have been performed by a specialist craftsman. However, his training in Wolgemut's studio, which made many carved and painted altarpieces and both designed and cut woodblocks for woodcut, evidently gave him great understanding of what the technique could be made to produce, and how to work with block cutters. Dürer either drew his design directly onto the woodblock itself, or glued a paper drawing to the block. Either way, his drawings were destroyed during the cutting of the block.
Lamentation for Christ, oil, 1500–1503

His famous series of sixteen great designs for the Apocalypse[8] are dated 1498. As is his engraving St. Michael Fighting the Dragon. He made the first seven scenes of the Great Passion in the same year, and a little later, a series of eleven on the Holy Family and saints. Around 1503–1505 he produced the first seventeen of a set illustrating the Life of the Virgin, which he did not finish for some years. Neither these, nor the Great Passion, were published as sets until several years later, but prints were sold individually in considerable numbers.[3]

During the same period Dürer trained himself in the difficult art of using the burin to make engravings. It is possible he had begun learning this skill during his early training with his father, as it was also an essential skill of the goldsmith. The first few were relatively unambitious, but by 1496 he was able to produce the masterpiece, the Prodigal Son, which Vasari singled out for praise some decades later, noting its Germanic quality. He was soon producing some spectacular and original images, notably Nemesis (1502), The Sea Monster (1498), and Saint Eustace (ca.1501), with a highly detailed landscape background and beautiful animals. He made a number of Madonnas, single religious figures, and small scenes with comic peasant figures. Prints are highly portable and these works made Dürer famous throughout the main artistic centres of Europe within a very few years.[3]
Portrait of Oswolt Krel, a merchant from Lindau (Lake Constance), participating in the South German medieval trade corporation Große Ravensburger Handelsgesellschaft. 1499

The Venetian artist Jacopo de' Barbari, whom Dürer had met in Venice, visited Nuremberg in 1500, and Dürer said that he learned much about the new developments in perspective, anatomy, and proportion from him. He was unwilling to explain everything he knew, so Dürer began his own studies, which would become a lifelong preoccupation. A series of extant drawings show Dürer's experiments in human proportion, leading to the famous engraving of Adam and Eve (1504), which shows his subtlety while using the burin in the texturing of flesh surfaces.[3] This is the only existing engraving signed with his full name.

Dürer made large numbers of preparatory drawings, especially for his paintings and engravings, and many survive, most famously the Betende Hände (engl. Praying Hands, c. 1508 Albertina, Vienna), a study for an apostle in the Heller altarpiece. He also continued to make images in watercolour and bodycolour (usually combined), including a number of exquisite still lifes of meadow sections or animals, including his Young Hare (1502) and the Great Piece of Turf (1503, both also Albertina).

Second journey to Italy (1505–1507)
The Praying Hands

In Italy, he returned to painting, at first producing a series of works executed in tempera on linen. These include portraits and altarpieces, notably, the Paumgartner altarpiece and the Adoration of the Magi. In early 1506, he returned to Venice and stayed there until the spring of 1507.[1] By this time Dürer's engravings had attained great popularity and were being copied. In Venice he was given a valuable commission from the emigrant German community for the church of San Bartolomeo. This was the altar-piece known as the Adoration of the Virgin or the Feast of Rose Garlands. It includes portraits of members of Venice's German community, but shows a strong Italian influence. It was subsequently acquired by the Emperor Rudolf II and taken to Prague. Other paintings Dürer produced in Venice include The Virgin and Child with the Goldfinch, Christ disputing with the Doctors (supposedly produced in a mere five days), and a number of smaller works.

Nuremberg and the masterworks (1507–1520)

Despite the regard in which he was held by the Venetians, Dürer was back in Nuremberg by mid-1507, and he remained in Germany until 1520. His reputation had spread throughout Europe and he was on friendly terms and in communication with most of the major artists including Raphael, Giovanni Bellini and—mainly through Lorenzo di Credi—Leonardo da Vinci.
Adam and Eve, by Albrecht Dürer (1507).

Between 1507 and 1511 Dürer worked on some of his most celebrated paintings: Adam and Eve (1507), The Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand (1508, for Frederick the Wise), Virgin with the Iris (1508), the altarpiece Assumption of the Virgin (1509, for Jacob Heller of Frankfurt), and Adoration of the Trinity (1511, for Matthaeus Landauer). During this period he also completed two woodcut series, the Great Passion and the Life of the Virgin, both published in 1511 together with a second edition of the Apocalypse series. The post-Venetian woodcuts show Dürer's development of chiaroscuro modelling effects,[9] creating a mid-tone throughout the print to which the highlights and shadows can be contrasted.

Other works from this period include the thirty-seven woodcut subjects of the Little Passion, published first in 1511, and a set of fifteen small engravings on the same theme in 1512. Indeed, complaining that painting did not make enough money to justify the time spent when compared to his prints, he produced no paintings from 1513 to 1516. However, in 1513 and 1514 Dürer created his three most famous engravings: The Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513, probably based on Erasmus's treatise 'Enichiridion militis Christiani'), St. Jerome in his Study, and the much-debated Melencolia I (both 1514).
Dürer's Rhinoceros, woodcut, 1515.

In 1515, he created his woodcut of the Rhinoceros which had arrived in Lisbon from a written description and sketch by another artist, without ever seeing the animal himself. A remarkably accurate image of the Indian rhinoceros, the image has such force that it remains one of his best-known and was still used in some German school science text-books as late as last century.[3] In the years leading to 1520 he produced a wide range of works, including portraits in tempera on linen in 1516.

Patronage of Maximilian I

From 1512, Maximilian I, became Dürer's major patron. His commissions included The Triumphal Arch, a vast work printed from 192 separate blocks, the symbolism of which is partly informed by Pirckheimer's translation of Horapollo's Hieroglyphica. The design program and explanations were devised by Johannes Stabius, the archtectural design by the master builder and court-painter Jörg Kölderer and the woodcutting itself by Hieronymous Andreae, with Dürer as designer-in-chief. The Arch was followed by the Triumphal Procession, the program of which was worked out in 1512 by Marx Treitz-Saurwein and includes woodcuts by Albrecht Altdorfer and Hans Springinklee, as well as Dürer.

Dürer worked in pen on the marginal images for an edition of the Emperor's printed Prayer-Book; these were quite unknown until facsimiles were published in 1808 as part of the first book published in lithography. Dürer's work on the book was halted for an unknown reason, and the decoration was continued by artists including Lucas Cranach the Elder and Hans Baldung. Dürer also made several portraits of the Emperor, including one shortly before Maximilian's death in 1519.

Journey to the Netherlands (1520–21)

Maximilian's sudden death came at a time when Dürer was concerned he was losing "my sight and freedom of hand" (perhaps to arthritis) and increasingly affected by the writings of Martin Luther.[10] In July 1520 Dürer made his fourth and last major journey, to renew the Imperial pension Maximilian had given him and to secure the patronage of the new emperor, Charles V, who was to be crowned at Aachen. Dürer journeyed with his wife and her maid via the Rhine to Cologne and then to Antwerp, where he was well-received and produced numerous drawings in silverpoint, chalk and charcoal. In addition to going to the coronation, he made excursions to Cologne (where he admired the painting of Stefan Lochner), Nijmegen, 's-Hertogenbosch, Bruges (where he saw Michelangelo's Madonna of Bruges), Ghent (where he admired van Eyck's altarpiece), and Zeeland.

Dürer took a large stock of prints with him and wrote in his diary to whom he gave, exchanged or sold them, and for how much. This provides rare information of the monetary value placed on prints at this time. Unlike paintings, their sale was very rarely documented.[11] While providing valuable documentary evidence, Dürer's Netherlandish diary also reveals that the trip was not a profitable one. For example, Dürer offered his last portrait of Maximilian to his daughter, Margaret of Austria, but eventually traded the picture for some white cloth after Margaret disliked the portrait and declined to accept it. During this trip he also met Conrad Meit, Bernard van Orley, Jean Prevost, Gerard Horenbout, Jean Mone, Joachim Patinir & Tommaso Vincidor, though he did not, it seems, meet Quentin Matsys.[12]

At the request of Christian II of Denmark Dürer went to Brussels to paint the King's portrait. There he saw "the things which have been sent to the king from the golden land" — the Aztec treasure that Hernán Cortés had sent home to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V following the fall of Mexico. Dürer wrote that this treasure "was much more beautiful to me than miracles. These things are so precious that they have been valued at 100,000 florins".[3] Dürer also appears to have been collecting for his own cabinet of curiosities, and he sent back to Nuremberg various animal horns, a piece of coral, some large fish fins, and a wooden weapon from the East Indies.

Having secured his pension, Dürer finally returned home in July 1521, having caught an undetermined illness—perhaps malaria[13] —which afflicted him for the rest of his life, and greatly reduced his rate of work.[3]

Final years in Nuremberg (1521–28)
This detail from Salvator Mundi, an unfinished oil painting on wood, reveals Dürer's highly detailed preparatory drawing. See full painting

On his return to Nuremberg, Dürer worked on a number of grand projects with religious themes, including a Crucifixion scene and a Sacra Conversazione, though neither was completed.[14] This may have been in part to his declining health, but perhaps also because of the time he gave to the preparation of his theoretical works on geometry and perspective, the proportions of men and horses, and fortification.

However, one consequence of this shift in emphasis was that during the last years of his life, Dürer produced comparatively little as an artist. In painting, there was only a portrait of Hieronymus Holtzschuher, a Madonna and Child (1526), Salvator Mundi (1526), and two panels showing St. John with St. Peter in front and St. Paul with St. Mark in the background. This last great work, the Four Apostles, was given by Dürer to the City of Nuremberg—although he was given 100 guilders in return.[15] An inscription relates the figures to the four humours.[16]

As for engravings, Dürer's work was restricted to portraits and illustrations for his treatise. The portraits include Cardinal-Elector Albert of Mainz; Frederick the Wise, elector of Saxony; the humanist scholar Willibald Pirckheimer; Philipp Melanchthon, and Erasmus of Rotterdam. For those of the Cardinal, Melanchthon, and Dürer's final major work, a drawn portrait of the Nuremberg patrician Ulrich Starck, Dürer depicted the sitters in profile, perhaps reflecting a more mathematical approach.

Despite complaining of his lack of a formal classical education Dürer was greatly interested in intellectual matters and learned much from his boyhood friend Willibald Pirckheimer, whom he no doubt consulted on the content of many of his images.[17] He also derived great satisfaction from his friendships and correspondence with Erasmus and other scholars. Dürer succeeded in producing two books during his lifetime. "The Four Books on Measurement" were published at Nuremberg in 1525 and was the first book for adults on mathematics in German,[3] as well as being cited later by Galileo and Kepler. The other, a work on city fortifications, was published in 1527. "The Four Books on Human Proportion" were published posthumously, shortly after his death in 1528 at the age of fifty-six.[1]

Dürer died in Nuremberg at the age of 56, leaving an estate valued at 6,874 florins—a considerable sum. His large house (purchased in 1509 from the heirs of the astronomer Bernhard Walther), where his workshop was located and where his widow lived until her death in 1539, remains a prominent Nuremberg landmark.[3] It is now a museum. He is buried in the Johannisfriedhof cemetery.

Dürer and the Reformation

Dürer was a Roman Catholic, however his writings suggest that he may have been sympathetic to Martin Luther's ideas. Dürer wrote of his desire to draw Luther in his diary in 1520: "And God help me that I may go to Dr. Martin Luther; thus I intend to make a portrait of him with great care and engrave him on a copper plate to create a lasting memorial of the Christian man who helped me overcome so many difficulties." In a letter to Nicholas Kratzer in 1524 Dürer wrote "because of our Christian faith we have to stand in scorn and danger, for we are reviled and called heretics." Most tellingly, Pirckheimer wrote in a letter to Johann Tscherte in 1530: "I confess that in the beginning I believed in Luther, like our Albert of blessed memory...but as anyone can see, the situation has become worse." Dürer may even have contributed to the Nuremberg City Council mandating Lutheran sermons and services in March 1525. Notably, Dürer had contacts various reformers, such as Zwingli, Andreas Karlstadt, Melanchthon, Erasmus and Cornelius Grapheus from whom Dürer received Luther's 'Babylonian Captivity' in 1520.[18] In spite of all these reasons to believe Dürer was sympathetic to Lutheranism, at least in its early manifestations, he never in any way abandoned the Catholic Church.

Dürer's later works have also been claimed to show Protestant sympathies. For example, his engraving of The Last Supper of 1523 has often been understood to have an evangelical theme, focussing as it does on Christ espousing the Gospel, as well the inclusion of the Eucharistic cup, an expression of Protestant utraquism,[19] although this interpretation has been questioned.[20] The delaying of the engraving of St Philip, completed in 1523 but not distributed until 1526, may have been due to Dürer's uneasiness with images of Saints; even if Dürer was not an iconoclast, in his last years he evaluated and questioned the role of art in religion.[21]

Legacy and influence
Dürer on a 1961 German stamp

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 predominately 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, who entered into collaborations with printmakers to distribute their work beyond their local region.

His work in engraving seems to have had an intimidating effect upon his German successors, the "Little Masters", who attempted few large engravings but continued Dürer's themes in tiny, rather cramped compositions. The early Lucas van Leyden was the only Northern European engraver to successfully continue to produce large engravings in the first third of the century. The generation of Italian engravers who trained in the shadow of Dürer all either directly copied parts of his landscape backgrounds (Giulio Campagnola and Christofano 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 dominate Northern engraving also.

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, and have been blamed for some of the wilder excesses of artists' self-portraiture, especially in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Dürer has never fallen from critical favour, and there have been revivals of interest in his works Germany in the Dürer Renaissance of about 1570 to 1630, in the early nineteenth century, and in German Nationalism from 1870 to 1945.[3]

The crater Dürer on Mercury was named in his honor.


Dürer is honored together with Matthias Grünewald and Lucas Cranach the Elder with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA) on August 5.

He is commemorated on the calendar of the Lutheran Church with other artists on 6 April.

Theoretical works

In all his theoretical works, in order to communicate his theories in the German language, rather than Latin, Dürer used graphic expressions based on a vernacular, craftsmen's language. For example, 'Schneckenlinie' ('snail-line') was his term for a spiral form. Thus Dürer contributed to the expansion in German prose which Martin Luther had begun with his translation of the Bible.[15]

Four Books on Measurement

Dürer's work on geometry is called the Four Books on Measurement (Underweysung der Messung mit dem Zirckel und Richtscheyt). The first book focuses on linear geometry. Dürer's geometric constructions include helices, conchoids and epicycloids. He also draws on Apollonius, and Johannes Werner's 'Libellus super viginti duobus elementis conicis' of 1522. The second book moves onto two dimensional geometry, i.e. the construction of regular polygons. Here Dürer favours the methods of Ptolemy over Euclid. The third book applies these principles of geometry to architecture, engineering and typography. In architecture Dürer cites Vitruvius but elaborates his own classical designs and columns. In typography, Dürer depicts the geometric construction of the Latin alphabet, relying on Italian precedent. However, his construction of the Gothic alphabet is based upon an entirely different modular system. The fourth book completes the progression of the first and second by moving to three-dimensional forms and the construction of polyhedrons. Here Dürer discusses the five Platonic solids, as well as seven Archimedean semi-regular solids, as well as several of his own invention. In all these, Dürer shows the objects in net. Finally, Dürer discusses the Delian Problem and moves on to the 'construzione legittima', a method of depicting a cube in two dimensions through linear perspective. It was in Bologna that Dürer was taught (possibly by Luca Pacioli or Bramante) the principles of linear perspective, and evidently became familiar with the 'costruzione legittima' in a written description of these principles found only, at this time, in the unpublished treatise of Piero della Francesca. He was also familiar with the 'abbreviated construction' as described by Alberti and the geometrical construction of shadows, a technique of Leonardo da Vinci. Although Dürer made no innovations in these areas, he is notable as the first Northern European to treat matters of visual representation in a scientific way, and with understanding of Euclidean principles. In addition to these geometrical constructions, Dürer discusses in this last book of Underweysung der Messung an assortment of mechanisms for drawing in perspective from models, such as the camera lucida and provides woodcut illustrations of these methods that are often reproduced in discussions of perspective.

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. 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,"[15] 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 an 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 as to 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'.[15] In other words, that 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 another's work at which its author labours with the utmost diligence for a whole year."[22]

See also

* Category:Dürer paintings and prints
* Dürer graph and Dürer's solid


1. ^ a b c Mueller, Peter O. (1993) Substantiv-Derivation in Den Schriften Albrecht Durers, Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-012815-2.
2. ^ Bartrum, 93, note 1
3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Giulia Bartrum, "Albrecht Dürer and his Legacy", British Museum Press, 2002, ISBN 0714126330
4. ^ Here he produced a woodcut of St Jerome as a frontispiece for Nicholaus Kessler's 'Epistolare beati Hieronymi'. Panofsky argues that this print combined the 'Ulmian style' of Koberger's 'Lives of the Saints' (1488) and that of Wolgemut's workshop. Panofsky:21
5. ^ a b Lee, Raymond L. & Alistair B. Fraser. (2001) The Rainbow Bridge, Penn State Press. ISBN 0-271-01977-8.
6. ^ The evidence for this trip is not conclusive; the suggestion it happened is supported by Erwin Panofsky (in his Albrecht Dürer, 1943) and others, but it has been disputed by other scholars, including Katherine Crawford Luber (in her Albrecht Dürer and the Venetian Renaissance, 2005).
7. ^ Allen, L. Jessie. (1903) Albrecht Dürer, Methuen & co.
8. ^ Johannesapokalypse in klassischen Comics
9. ^ Panofsky:135
10. ^ Bartrum, 204. Quotation from a letter to the secretary of the Elector of Saxony
11. ^ Landau & Parshall:350-54 and passim
12. ^ Panofsky:209
13. ^ Panofsky:
14. ^ Panofsky:223
15. ^ a b c d Erwin Panofsky, "The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer", Princeton, 1945, ISBN 0691003033
16. ^ Panofsky:235
17. ^ Corine Schleif (2010), “Albrecht Dürer between Agnes Frey and Willibald Pirckheimer,” The Essential Dürer, ed. Larry Silver and Jeffrey Chipps Smith, Philadelphia, 85-205
18. ^ Price:225-248
19. ^ Strauss, 1981
20. ^ Price:254
21. ^ Harbison
22. ^ Panofsky:283


* Giulia Bartrum (2002), Albrecht Dürer and his Legacy, British Museum Press. ISBN 0714126330
* Craig Harbison, "Dürer and the Reformation: The Problem of the Re-dating of the St. Philip Engraving", in The Art Bulletin, Vol. 58, No. 3, 368-373. Sep., 1976.
* Jane Campbell Hutchinson (1990), Albrecht Dürer: A Biography, Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691002975
* Wilhelm Kurth (Editor) (2000), The Complete Woodcuts of Albrecht Durer, Dover Publications. ISBN 0486210979 — still in print in paperback.
* David Landau & Peter Parshall, The Renaissance Print, Yale, 1996, ISBN 0300068832
* Erwin Panofsky(1945), "The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer", Princeton, ISBN 0691003033
* David Hotchkiss Price, Albrecht Dürer's Renaissance: Humanism, Reformation and the Art of Faith, Michigan, 2003.
* Walter L. Strauss (Editor) (1973), The Complete Engravings, Etchings and Drypoints of Albrecht Durer, Dover Publications. ISBN 0486228517 — still in print in paperback.
* Albrecht Dürer (translated by R.T. Nichol from the Latin text), Of the Just Shaping of Letters, Dover Publications. ISBN 0486213064

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