Emperor Charlemagne (c.1512) by Albrecht Durer

Emperor Charlemagne - Albrecht Durer - c.1512

Artwork Information

TitleEmperor Charlemagne
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationGermanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, Germany

About Emperor Charlemagne

The artwork “Emperor Charlemagne” by Albrecht Durer, dating from around 1512, is an oil painting on panel that is part of the Northern Renaissance movement. This portrait is housed in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, Germany. It falls within the genre of portraiture, which was a significant form of painting during the Northern Renaissance, characterized by detailed and lifelike representations of its subjects.

In the painting, we see a detailed and regal depiction of Emperor Charlemagne. He is portrayed with a strong, confident gaze, suggesting the power and authority fitting of an emperor. The artwork is striking for its meticulous attention to detail and the richness of the textures and patterns displayed in Charlemagne’s attire. His robe is ornate, adorned with intricate designs and symbolism that signal his imperial status, including eagles and fleurs-de-lis. The emperor wears a lavish crown beset with jewels, and his hand grasps the orb of sovereignty—a symbol of his dominion. Other symbols of his rule, such as the scepter, further emphasize his imperial power. The dark background of the painting contrasts with the brightness of his robe and crown, highlighting his figure and giving a sense of depth to the composition. The text on the left identifies him as “Carolus Imperator”, which means Charles the Emperor, and on the right, it confirms his name, Charles. This is a testament to Durer’s skill in capturing not only the physical likeness but also the majesty and grandeur associated with historical figures of such stature.

Other Artwork from Albrecht Durer

More Northern Renaissance Artwork

Scroll to Top