Albrecht Durer Essay Research Paper Artist and

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Albrecht Durer Essay, Research Paper Artist and Humanist, Albrecht Durer is one of the most significant figures in the history f European art outside Italy during the Renaissance (Gowing 195). Portraying the questioning spirit of the Renaissance, Durer’s conviction that he must examine and explore his own situation through capturing the very essence of his role as artist and creator, is reflected in the Self-portrait in a Fur Collared Robe (Strieder 10). With the portrait, Durer’s highly self-conscious approach to his status as an artist coveys his exalted mission of art more clearly than in any other painting. He seems to be “less concerned with himself as a person than with himself as an artist, and less with the artist than with the origin and exalted mission of art

itself.” (Strieder 13). In this self-portrait Durer portrays himself in the guise of the Savior. Durer’s natural resemblance to Christ has been reverently amplified (Hutchinson 67). His bearded face is grave, and fringed by lustrous shoulder-lenth hair painted in a dark, Christ-like brown (Russell 89. Scholars have called attention to the fact that, the portrait was intended to portray Durer as the “thinking” artist through emphasis on the enlarged eyes and the right hand. Duere’s use of the full-face view and almost hypnotic gaze “emphasizes his belief that the sense of sight is the most noble of the five senses.” He wrote in the Introduction to his Painter’s Manual, “For the noblest of man’s senses is sight? Therefore a thing seen is more believable and

long-lasting to us than something we hear” (Hutchison 68). The position of the right hand held in front of his chest is almost as if in blessing (89 Russell). Joachim Camerarius, a professor who published a Latin translation of two of Durer’s books, wrote of Durer’s “intelligent head, his flashing eyes, his nobly formed nose, his broad chest,” and then noted: “But his fingers- you would vow you had never seen anything more elegant” (Russell 8). Along with his qualities of mind and eye, the gracefully extended fingers in his self-portrait portrays his extraordinary “faculty of hand.” Camerarius continued: “What shall I say of the steadiness and exactitude of his hand? You might swear that rule, square, or compasses had been employed to draw lines which he, in

face, drew with the brush, or very often with pencil or pen? this consummate artist’s mind, endowed with all knowledge and understanding of the truth? governed and guided his hand and bade it trust to itself without any other aids? And this was a subject of greatest wonder to most distinguished painters who, from their own great experience, could understand the difficulty of the thing” (Russell 8). Symmetrically arranging his serious, handsome face and mass of shoulder length hair deliberately invite comparison with the image of Christ. The idealized arrangement and strict symmetry of the face is based on a construction made up of circle and a triangle, a formula used down to the Byzantine period for images of the Redeemer. The frontal pose and symmetrical composition have

recurred in many images of Christ, particularly in the form of the vera icon, or “true image” (Strieder14). No architectural setting appears within the plain, black background of the painting (Hutchison 67). The darkened tone and limited but unified color scheme create a mood of sanctity (Hutchinson 68). The contours of the face are molded by means of soft light and transparent shadows, almost in an attempt to fathom the inner depths of Durer’s creative spirit (Strieder 147). Set against the dark background, the strong face and chin emanate an impression of energy from the portrait. Within the background on the right-hand side, the inscription reads “I Albrecht Durer of Nuremberg painted myself thus, with undying colors, at the age of twenty-eight years” (Hutchinson