Happy birthday, Albrecht Dürer!

Happy birthday, Albrecht Dürer! May 21, 2014

German painter, woodcarver, engraver, mathematician, born May 21, 1471, spent much of his life in Italy and produced some of the most well known art of the Renaissance. He’s the one who did those Praying Hands that used to appear on 75% of religious art:

 

 

PIC praying hands

 

But did you know he also did praying feet?

 

 

 

PIC praying feet

 

Browse around in this wonderful gallery of his works, and you’ll find this cerebral allegory, “Melencolia I”

 

 

 

PIC Melancolia

Note that this is an engraving.  Have you ever tried to make a print?  Looked like a chimpanzee did it, didn’t it?  I almost feel like engraving with such depth and detail as the above is a supernatural talent.

But Durer also gave us homlier treasures. Here is his so-called “Great Piece of Turf”:

 

PIC great piece of turf

Juicy! You can see that the peak of summer is past, and the weeds are still going strong, but are past their first freshness.  This is a watercolor  — which, if I remember correctly, is a medium that requires even more manual control than engravings.

Happy birthday, Al. We all still dig that hair.

PIC self portrait

 

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  • richard

    Yes. Durer, a master of the Northern Renaissance. His self portrait give us a glimpse of what one looked like in that time. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is a favorite.

  • Supposedly (according to family lore) Durer used to stay with my ancestors at their home in Heroldsberg (the “Red Castle”), and did this sketch based on the view from one of the windows there. Kinda cool.

    http://www.albrecht-durer.org/View-Of-Heroldsberg.html

  • Leah Joy

    I love his self-portrait from his early twenties (I think)–he painted it for his fiancee and showed himself holding a thistle. Doesn’t sound romantic but the thistle symbolized marital fidelity! Sweet, and a striking portrait.