Head of a apostle (1509) by Albrecht Durer

Head of a apostle - Albrecht Durer - 1509

Artwork Information

TitleHead of a apostle
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance

About Head of a apostle

The artwork “Head of an Apostle” by Albrecht Dürer, dated 1509, is a striking example of the Northern Renaissance art movement, specifically categorized as a portrait. This artwork encapsulates the quintessential mastery of Dürer, a prodigious figure of that era, renowned for his detailed and precise works that often melded the realms of art and science with humanist ideals.

The artwork presents an elderly male figure depicted with an exceptional degree of realism and detail. The subject’s head is tilted slightly upwards and to the side, creating a sense of introspection or contemplation. His features are finely rendered, with deep-set eyes beneath furrowed brows, creased skin, and a well-defined, characterful face that reflects age and experience. A soft light seemingly illuminates one side of the face, casting subtle shadows and enhancing the three-dimensional quality of the work.

The subject’s attire is modest, suggesting a monastic or religious affiliation which aligns with the depiction of an apostle. His hooded garment drapes around his head and shoulders, adding a textural contrast to the smoothness of his flesh. Notable too is the precision of the hair and beard, each strand meticulously drawn to convey texture and volume.

Marked prominently in the artwork is the date “1509” alongside Dürer’s recognizable monogram, an inclusion that serves both as a signature and as a testament to the historical moment of the piece’s creation. The simplicity of the background focuses the viewer’s attention on the figure, allowing the fine strokes and chiaroscuro technique to command the visual narrative, characteristics lauding the remarkable skill of the artist and the cultural period he embodies.

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