Albrecht Dürer - Leonardo of the North
Impressive though others may be, the great German artist of the Northern
Renaissance is Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). We know his life better than the lives of other artists of his time. Dürer traveled, and found, he says, more appreciation abroad than at home. The Italian influence on his art was of a particularly Venetian strain, through the great Bellini, who, by the time Dürer met him, was an old man. Dürer was an extraordinarily learned person, and the only Northern artist who fully infused the sophisticated Italian dialogue between scientific theory and art, creating his exposition on proportion in 1528. Even though we know so much about his doings, it is not easy to fathom his thinking.
Albrecht Dürer was born in the imperial free city of Nuremberg on May 27,1471, at a time when the city was shifting from its Gothic past to a more progressive form of Renaissance Humanism. Dürer's father, a goldsmith, departed Hungary to come to Nuremberg, where he met and married Albrecht's mother -- Barbara Hopkins. At age 13, Dürer accomplished an artistically precise and meticulous silverpoint, entitled "Self Portrait at age 13." This work of art not only reveals his premature aptitude as a youth, but the unique details of northern art. …
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