Albrecht Durer Self Portrait

Humanities 2230

August 2,1999

Albrecht Durer Self Portrait

Artist: Albrecht Durer

Medium: oil on painting

Size: 26 1/8 x 19 3/4 inches

Date: 1500

Location: Alte Pinakothek, Minich

Patron: none mentioned

Durer Life and Greatest Work

Albrecht Durer was the most famous artist of the Reformation Germany, he was well know for his paintings, drawings, prints, and theoretical writings, all of which had a profound influence on 16th century artists in his own country and in the lowlands. "Durer was so great an artist, so searching and all-encompassing a thinker, that he was almost a Renaissance in his own right-and his work was admired by contemporaries in the North and South alike." ( Web Gallery of Fine Arts) Durer was born May 21, in Nuremberg, Germany. His father was a goldsmith as well as his first art teacher. After studying with his father, Durer was apprenticed in 1486 to the painter and printmaker Michael Wolgemut at the age of 15. Durer completed his apprentice-ship in 1490 and took the traditional young artist\'s trip to the art centers of Germany. In 1494, he was married to Agnes Troy that was arranged. He also visited Venice in 1494. From that point on, Italian Style became clearly evident in his works. Durer was not just known for his paintings, he\'d done many wood engravings also. "Durer studied the mathematics of proportion and perspective and published two works on these subject."(Comptons Encyclopedia)

The Subject

Durer is known as one of the first to do a self-portrait. It is rumored that he looked at his artistic ability as people looked upon Jesus as a savior. I really believe that because when I looked at the picture before reading anything I thought it resembled Jesus. Durer actually painted the portrait while looking at himself in the mirror. "His idea of having divine power, or to hint about having equality with Christ, was never thought of in his day." (Web Gallery of Arts) "He also was following the tradition of mysticism in which he saw himself as striving to imitate the example of Christ."(The Western Humanities third edition)

The Message

The date of the painting and the artist\'s name are inscribed on both sides of the subject\'s face. He appears to be very powerful maybe from a family of Royalty. He has such a serious face and his eyes might make one believe he is a soldier.

The Design

The pyramidal and linear form Durer uses is what he is most noted for. The symmetry and proportion are well balanced and appear to be almost perfect. Durer withholds early Renaissance values, though it is clear he has taken each level to a new dimension. Even classical values such as balance, restraint, dignity and order are very evident. The black ground calls to someone\'s attention Durer\'s demand of being the center of focus.

The Style

I think it is evident that this would be naturalistic-realistic. If it were true that he painted this while looking in the mirror he would be able to see all natural detail. I am sure he put a little idealistic characteristic after all we all would like to think we look a little better.


Web Gallery of Fine Arts

Comptons Encyclopedia 3.0 The Learning Company, Inc.

The Western Humanities third edition

Roy T Mathews, F Dewitt Platt