Albrecht Durer the Elder (1486) by Albrecht Durer

Albrecht Durer the Elder - Albrecht Durer - 1486

Artwork Information

TitleAlbrecht Durer the Elder
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationAlbertina, Vienna, Austria

About Albrecht Durer the Elder

The artwork “Albrecht Dürer the Elder” is a portrait created by the notable Northern Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer in 1486. The portrait is executed in metalpoint, a drawing technique using a metal stylus that was commonly used during the Renaissance period. This piece is a part of the Northern Renaissance art movement and is currently housed at the Albertina Museum in Vienna, Austria.

The portrait depicts an older man, presumably Albrecht Dürer’s father, given the title of the artwork. He is shown in profile facing to the left of the viewer. The man is wearing a hat with a distinct, soft, and bell-like shape that seems to droop slightly at the top. His hair falls in waves just below the hat’s brim, and his face is marked by the lines and creases of age, including prominent furrows on his forehead and crow’s feet at the corners of his eyes, which give him an expression of contemplative intensity. The man’s eyes are gaze longingly, perhaps introspectively, out of the frame.

He is dressed in a garment of the period, with a rounded neckline adorned with what appears to be a necklace or a decorative cord, and the sleeves of his clothing are gathered at the wrists. The artist has captured minute details of his subject with great finesse, highlighting the texture of the fabric and the subtle folds. Dürer’s expertise in metalpoint is evident in the fine lines and careful shading that give form and volume to the sitter’s facial features.

The drawing has a delicate and yet precise quality that is typical of metalpoint works, with fine hatching and cross-hatching to build up areas of shadow and to model the contours of the father’s face. Although the work is monochromatic, Dürer’s competent use of line gives a strong sense of realism to the portrait. This depiction not only demonstrates the artist’s technical skill but also his ability to convey the character and mood of the sitter, creating a compelling and intimate portrait.

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