Albertina, Vienna 20 September 2019 – 6 January 2020
With its nearly 140 works by Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), the Albertina Museum in Vienna is home to the world’s largest and most important collection of drawings by this artist. This exhibition also includes valuable international loan works in order to present Dürer’s drawn, printed, and painted oeuvres as equally great artistic achievements. And with reference to the distinctive works on exhibit, the exhibition also offers insights into the latest research findings.
The works by Albrecht Dürer at the Albertina are of particular interest in terms of the collection’s history: their provenance can be traced back to the year of the artist’s death in an unbroken line. The museum thus holds a group of works from the artist’s own workshop that have been together for nearly 500 years. Prominent here are Dürer’s family portraits, his famous studies of animals and plants, and his head, hand, and clothing studies on colored paper. The Albertina’s Dürer collection thus offers the ideal starting point from which to reconstruct the activities of Dürer’s workshop and also explore this artist’s personal, early humanist notion of art.
On the 21st of May, 1471, birth of Albrecht Dürer, painter, drawer and printmaker, and one of the key artists of the Northern Renaissance. Dürer’s printmaking has been of immense influence on generations of painters, all of whom had printmakers copy their works in prints, to be able to distribute their art. Dürer was born in Nuremberg, Germany, where his father was a successful goldsmith. He made a few trips to Italy and contributed greatly to the exchange of knowledge and skills between the Italian and Northern Renaissance. Back in Germany Dürer dedicated himself to printmaking, mainly woodcuts and engravings, turning printmaking into an art of its own right. Dürer is considered one of the most famous artists of his time.
Here is Dürer’s painting of Saint Jerome. It’s more a portrait of an old wise man and only little details like the inkpot and bookrest remind us that this is a scholar sitting in his study. Saint Jerome was a Christian theologian, best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin. But look how he is pointing at the skull. Saint Jerome reminds us of our mortality and the vanity of earthly life and goods.