Albrecht Durer

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Albrecht Dürer Born: 21 May 1471 in Imperial Free City of Nürnberg (now in Germany) Died: 6 April 1528 in Imperial Free City of Nürnberg (now in Germany) Albrecht Dürer was the third son of Albrecht Dürer and Barbara Holfer. He was one of their eighteen children. The Dürer family came from Hungary, Albrecht Dürer senior being born there, and at this time the family name was Ajtos. The name Ajtos means "door" in Hungarian and when Dürer senior and his brothers came to Germany they chose the name Türer which sounds like the German "Tür" meaning door. The name changed to Dürer but Albrecht Dürer senior always signed himself Türer rather than Dürer. Here are portraits of his father and mother. Albrecht Dürer senior was a jeweller who had served

his apprenticeship with Hieronymus Holfer, and then married Holfer's daughter. Albrecht Dürer junior wrote about his father and his upbringing (see for example):- My father suffered much and toiled painfully all his life, for he had no resources other than the proceeds of his trade from which to support himself and his wife and family. He led an honest, God-fearing life. His character was gentle and patient. He was friendly towards all and full of gratitude to his Maker. He cared little for society and nothing for worldly amusements. A man of very few words and deeply pious, he paid great attention to the religious education of his children. His most earnest hope was that the high principles he instilled into their minds would render them ever more worthy of divine protection

and the sympathy of mankind. He told us every day that we must love God and be honourable in our dealings with our neighbours. As a young boy Dürer was educated at the Lateinschule in St Lorenz and he also worked in his father's workshop learning the trade of a goldsmith and jeweller. By the age of 13 he was already a skilled painter as seen from a self portrait which he painted at that time. This was the first of many self-portraits which Dürer painted and they provide a wonderful record. Here is our collection of such self-portraits. In 1486 Dürer became an apprentice painter and woodcut designer to Michael Wolgemut, the leading producer of altarpieces. After an apprenticeship of four years, Dürer had learnt all he could from Wolgemut and had reached a level of artistic

quality exceeding that of his famous teacher. Wolgemut advised Dürer to travel to widen his experience and meet other artists. Following Wolgemut's advice, Dürer delayed visiting Italy (which Wolgemut himself never visited), where there were very different artistic styles, until he had fully developed his own style and learnt more techniques from other German artists. Here is a portrait of Wolgemut. Dürer travelled first to Nördlingen, where he met artists of the Swabian school. The Swabian style had been influenced by Dutch artistic design which Dürer had not met before. His next visit was to Ulm where he met more artists of the Swabian school. Dürer:- ... participated with keen enjoyment in the discussions among artists of his own age, in the low-ceilinged taverns, over

foaming mugs of beer. These youthful enthusiasts, in common with those of all nations throughout history, were bent on rejuvenation of the art of the world. They were delighted with Dürer's drawings, with his first engravings and the small pictures he had already painted, independently of Wolgemut's directions or opinions. Leaving Ulm, Dürer made his way to Constance which charmed him with its fairyland appearance. Basel was the next town which Dürer visited, and he found it quite similar to his home town of Nürnberg. Finally Dürer returned home, making visits to Colmar and Strasbourg on the way. It had been a long journey of great importance to Dürer which had taken nearly four years, but after he returned to Nürnberg in 1494 he felt disappointed that he had not visited