Albrecht Dürer: Impressions of the Renaissance
When: November 14 - December 24, 2009
About the Show
With keen curiosity and limited education, Albrecht Dürer interacted with leading humanists and scholars of the northern Renaissance, an exciting period when the spread of resurrected texts and classical art sparked a fashionable cultural revolution in his native Nuremberg. Their discussions and friendships informed many of his prints, which became monuments in the history of printmaking.
Ideas Dürer confronted in his prints stem in part from his conversations with these scholars and their knowledge of ancient and contemporary literature made available in first and newly published editions. For instance, he often discussed intellectual issues with his dearest friend Willibald Pirckheimer, a Nuremberg scholar and translator who studied at the Universities of Padua and Pavia. Pirckheimer amassed a private library of classical texts and was at the center of the elite humanist circle in Nuremberg. The rise of humanism, revived classical sources, and new theological writings attracted Dürer and propelled his portraits of scholars as well as his renderings of saints, biblical figures, classical gods and goddesses, sea monsters, satyrs, Satan, and Death.
The exhibition is organized by the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center and includes thirty-five prints from the permanent collection as well as a few loans. Subjects range from portraits by Dürer of classical scholars Willibald Pirckheimer, Philip Melanchthon, and Desiderius Erasmus to prints with biblical and allegorical themes. Included are numerous works from the Art Center’s Warburg Collection of Old Master Prints.