Head of a Woman (c.1520) by Albrecht Durer

Head of a Woman - Albrecht Durer - c.1520

Artwork Information

TitleHead of a Woman
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationBibliotheque nationale de France (BnF), Paris, France

About Head of a Woman

“Head of a Woman” is a portrait by Albrecht Dürer, a luminary of the Northern Renaissance, dated around the year 1520. This artwork was executed on canvas using the tempera medium. Today, it finds its residence at the Bibliotheque nationale de France (BnF) in Paris, France.

The “Head of a Woman” portrays the solemn face of a female subject, looking slightly downward and to the side, which conveys a sense of introspection or contemplation. The woman’s features are rendered with Dürer’s characteristic attention to detail, particularly evident in the rendering of her hair, with delicate curls cascading down her shoulders. The facial features are soft and approach a sense of realism that is typical of the Northern Renaissance, which prized detail and naturalism.

The color palette is relatively subdued, featuring earthy tones with a prominent contrast between the warm hues of the woman’s red garment and the cooler, almost desaturated tones of her complexion. The background is unadorned, a dark and neutral space that serves to focus the viewer’s attention fully on the woman’s visage.

Despite the passage of time, evident in some cracking and damage to the paint surface, the artwork retains a poignant, lifelike presence, showcasing Dürer’s skill in portraiture and his contribution to the art movement of his time.

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