Nuremberg Museum Showcases Albrecht Dürer's Early Works

May 24, 2012

In many ways, the great Nuremberg-based artist Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) was way ahead of his time: He developed a hyper-realistic, highly modern style of painting, and he achieved fame during his own lifetime through prolific printmaking and clever branding.

At the center of the exhibit is a sculpture by Friedrich Salomon Beer of Albrecht Dürer as a boy, after a self-portrait from 1484. Enlarge image At the center of the exhibit is a sculpture by Friedrich Salomon Beer of Albrecht Dürer as a boy, after a self-portrait from 1484. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

A new exhibit that opened on May 24 in Dürer's hometown showcases works by the Renaissance era mastermind with a focus on his formative years.

The Dürer exhibition at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum is the largest in Germany in 40 years. With a focus on Dürer's early creative period, it includes self-portraits and portraits of others, as well as many of his incredibly detailed nature studies and drawings.

  • "It made a lot of sense for us to focus on Dürer's development until the year 1505," curator Daniel Hess told The Associated Press. "During this period of time the important developments of his artistic work took place."

The exhibit includes the museum's own Dürer collection, plus some 120 of the artist's most important works provided by more than 50 lenders around the world. 

Twin portraits made in 1490 by Albrecht Dürer of his parents are also on view at the exhibit. Enlarge image Twin portraits made in 1490 by Albrecht Dürer of his parents are also on view at the exhibit. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

Beyond paintings, Dürer's wide body of work also includes religious works, altarpieces, copper engravings and woodcuts.

Dürer was born in Nuremberg, where he also died. During his lifetime he made several trips abroad, including to Italy, that influenced his life and work as an artist.

  • "The mixture of wide loose strokes and fine calligraphic finish make Dürer's paintings so lively," Hess told the AP. "He is never boring and brash. His work is very virtuosic, free and very accurate."

As the Hamburg-based weekly Die Zeit recently reported, Dürer was a supremely self-confident artist the likes of which would be hard to find even today.

  • Dürer was heaped with praise by artists and thinkers all over Europe during his own lifetime. Even the great Italian masters were so impressed by the raw talent of this artist that they, as diplomat Christoph Scheurl reported at the time, "attributed to him the mastery of painting in the whole world." (from Die Zeit)

The exhibit runs through September 2, 2012. Dürer's historic house, which also serves as a living museum, is also on view in Nuremberg.

© Germany.info

Albrecht Dürer

"Self-Portrait" (1500) by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528)

Albrecht Dürer Gallery

Visual Arts & Design

Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein © picture-alliance / HB-Verlag

From Renaissance master Albrecht Dürer and 19th-century romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich to the expressionists of the early 20th century and the multi-faceted approach to the arts initiated by the legendary Bauhaus, Germany has an extraordinarily rich artistic tradition. It doesn't, however, end there!