Artist
Albrecht Dürer
German painter, printmaker, mathematician, and theorist

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Albrecht Dürer
German painter, printmaker, mathematician, and theorist
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Birth Date

May 21, 1471

Death Date

April 06, 1528

Arty Fact

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Contributor

Albrecht Dürer was the best German artist to come out of the Renaissance.

Unfortunately, Dürer was also the worst husband. Forced to come home for his grand tour of Europe by his parents to marry Agnes Frey, the marriage was not off to a good start. After a few months, he bailed for Italy alone….just as a plague broke out in Germany. Nothing says rocky marriage quite like hoping your wife gets the plague and dies. Needless to say, they didn’t have any children.

Luckily for us though, he was a much better artist than spouse. Known for getting into the nitty gritty with his woodblock prints, Albrecht Dürer has been the source of many an argument between art historians about symbols and secrets and things. His work is one of the first you’ll see in any Renaissance 101 class along with all of his buddies. You may know them… Raphael, Bellini, and the great Leonardo da Vinci. These are the friends he was hanging out with while crossing his fingers that his wife would die.

He gained a lot of confidence after hanging with the greats obviously because he was quoted saying, “Why has God given me such magnificent talent? It is a curse as well as a great blessing.” This is the Renaissance equivalent of first world problems.

It was true though about his talent because hundreds of years later his work is still very relevant. His pieces sell for millions of dollars at auction and apparently not all of them are in museums and art collections. Just this past August a print by Dürer, which had been missing since WWII was found in a flea market in France. So everyone go check out your grandma’s attic to make sure she isn’t stashing any priceless works of art.

Contributor

Born May 21, 1471 - Died April 6, 1528

Either had a very cool wig or spent a lot of time on his hair, because in several of his self portraits he sports a perm most women would kill for.

He entered an arranged marriage at age 23. Even though he himself came from a household of eighteen children, he had no children himself.

Durer was a nerd who loved math and magic squares. He published the first ever math textbook in Germany as well as textbooks on the proportions of the human face and on how to draw perspective using a perspective machine.

Unlike most artists, Durer had good business sense and ended up pretty well off financially. Instead of waiting for commissions for paintings, he would produce cheaper prints, and then hire salesmen to go out and sell them.

The Nazis loved Durer and used his 1493 self-portrait (above) as cover art for their magazine "Volk Und Rasse" (People and Race). Also, the Nazi Woman's magazine "N.S. Frauenwarte" published a list of 122 "approved" works of art by 53 artists. A quarter of the art works were by Durer!

Featured Content

Here is what Wikipedia says about Albrecht Dürer

Albrecht Dürer (/ˈdjʊərər/;German: [ˈʔalbʁɛçt ˈdyːʁɐ]; 21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528) sometimes spelt in English as Durer or Duerer, without umlaut, was a painter, printmaker, and theorist of the German Renaissance. Born in Nuremberg, Dürer established his reputation and influence across Europe when he was still in his twenties due to his high-quality woodcut prints. He was in communication with the major Italian artists of his time, including Raphael, Giovanni Bellini and Leonardo da Vinci, and from 1512 he was patronized by Emperor Maximilian I. Dürer is commemorated by both the Lutheran and Episcopal Churches.

Dürer's vast body of work includes engravings, his preferred technique in his later prints, altarpieces, portraits and self-portraits, watercolours and books. The woodcuts, such as the Apocalypse series (1498), are more Gothic than the rest of his work. His well-known engravings include the 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 also 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, 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.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Albrecht Dürer.