Albrecht Durer1471 - 1528
Painter, Illustrator, Draftsman
Born: May 21, 1471, Nuremberg, Germany
Died: April 6, 1528, Nuremberg, Germany
One of the finest artists in western art history, Albrecht Durer was a leading painter and printmaker of the Northern Renaissance. More than any other artist, he was responsible for introducing Italian Renaissance perspective and composition to northern Europe, largely through the dissemination of his graphic work. His extensive body of work includes altarpieces and religious works, portraits and self-portraits, and engravings. While equally talented as a painter and draftsman, Durer the engraver was unrivalled in technical expertise. Through the emotional and intellectual depth of his works and originality of composition, he took printmaking to new heights. Durer's exceptional graphic works far outnumber his surviving paintings. Adapted from Italian influences, Durer's subjects are religious in content. Nonetheless, Durer maintained his identity as a German artist, working within the native Gothic tradition of northern Europe characterized by increased naturalism of artistic subjects and style. During the Middle Ages, artists in Germany were classed as artisans. Durer was highly impressed with the elevated status enjoyed by Italian artists. Although he was highly respected in northern Europe, he lived in Italy for years at a time in order to work within the supportive artistic environment of southern Europe.