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Albrecht Dürer

A painting of long-haired, bearded, light-skinned young man against a black background. His right hard reaches up to hold his fur-trimmed jacket sloed in the center of his body.
Albrecht Dürer. Self-Portrait at Twenty-Eight Years Old Wearing a Coat with Fur Collar, 1500. Alte Pinakothek, Munich.
Also known as
Albert Durer, Al’brekht Diurer, Alberto Durero
Date of birth
Date of death

Albrecht Dürer’s technically groundbreaking body of drawings and prints had a profound and lasting influence on the development of European art. Initially trained as a goldsmith by his father, Dürer was schooled in painting by Michael Wolgemut and began making works on paper in the 1490s. 

Born in the German town of Nuremberg—a prosperous free city of the Holy Roman Empire and a center of commerce, book printing, and humanist learning—Dürer grew up in a culturally and artistically stimulating environment. He further expanded his intellectual horizons by traveling twice to Italy in his youth and once to the Netherlands as a mature artist. In addition to several paintings, Dürer produced works on paper of unparalleled sophistication. He worked in drawing, woodcut, and engraving—even briefly trying his hand at the less common techniques of etching and drypoint

Durer’s drawings, such as the Art Institute’s Young Bull, are remarkable for their realism and refined penmanship. His unprecedentedly meticulous engravings, such as Nemesis, precisely conveyed surfaces, textures, and subtle effects of light. His wooducts—like his famous Apocalypse series or The Men’s Bath—were ambitious in terms of size, graphic complexity, and the variety and novelty of the subjects depicted. The Art Institute holds a comprehensive collection of Dürer’s prints that includes some rare and extremely fine impressions.

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