The National Gallery presents a major exhibition entitled Dürer’s Journeys – Travels of a Renaissance Artist devoted to German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer. This is the first significant UK exhibition of the artist’s works in such a wide range of media for nearly twenty years and explores Dürer’s career as a painter, draughtsman and printmaker. Most of the exhibited works are displayed in Britain for the first time.
The exhibition is based on the artists journal of his travels to the Alps and Italy in the mid-1490s; to Venice in 1505–7; and to the Low Countries in 1520–1. These journeys bought him into contact with a number of artists and important people and increased his fame and influence.
In the first room of the exhibition visitors can follow Dürer’s career progress in the years following his return to Nuremberg after travelling to the Alps and Italy in the mid-1490s. His Saint Jerome, about 1496, with its detailed landscape shows the influence of the Italian visit. Also included is the unusual Madonna and Child; Lot and his Daughters about 1496-9.
The second room includes some of Dürer’s early studies from his visit to Venice from 1505 to 1507, highlights of the room are three portraits by Dürer and the painting Christ among the Doctors, 1506,
In room three, includes many of the artist’s best-known engravings, we see Dürer return to Nuremberg, where he was employed by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, before embarking on a journey north to Aachen where the coronation of the new Emperor Charles V was to take place. He also visited the Low Countries in 1520–1.
The fourth room of the exhibition include Portraits, in chalk, charcoal and silverpoint. Dürer’s observations as he sketched people, animals and townscapes are explored in the fifth, which includes sheets from his silverpoint sketchbook.
The artists Dürer met on his travels are well represented such as Giovanni Bellini with his The Assassination of Saint Peter Martyr
The final room is devoted to the period in Antwerp, where Dürer became friendly with the Portuguese merchants’ agent Rodrigo de Almada. Dürer painted a striking and innovative image of Saint Jerome, 1521 for Almada.
This fascinating exhibition offers the rare opportunity to explore a wide range of Dürer work and consider how Renaissance artists from Northern Europe differed from their Southern counterparts. Although influenced by the work of Mantegna, Leonardo and Giovanni Bellini, Dürer bought his own unique vision to the human condition and religion. He was more concerned with universal issues and the meaning and conduct of earthly life, rather than the treasures and rewards in heaven. If Leonardo da Vinci is the poster boy of the Southern Renaissance artists, Dürer is considered the archetypal Renaissance artist of Northern Europe with unique skills of observation, technique, painting, printing and drawing.
Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended
For more information and tickets, visit the National Gallery website here
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