Portrait of a Young Man (1500) by Albrecht Durer

Portrait of a Young Man - Albrecht Durer - 1500

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of a Young Man
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationAlte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany

About Portrait of a Young Man

The artwork “Portrait of a Young Man,” crafted by the distinguished artist Albrecht Dürer in the year 1500, is a quintessential piece that exemplifies the Northern Renaissance art movement. Employing oil on panel as his medium, Dürer imbues the painting with a lifelike presence that was revolutionary for its time. The portrait falls within the genre of portraiture, an area in which Dürer excelled, and it is currently held in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany.

In the artwork, the viewer is met with the visage of a young man portrayed in a three-quarter view, his gaze turned slightly to the left, engaging the viewer with an intense and thoughtful expression. His forehead is marked by the year ‘1500’, indicating the year of the painting’s completion, which is exquisitely rendered in golden numerals that blend seamlessly with the artwork’s background. The subject’s features are delineated with remarkable sharpness and clarity typical of Dürer’s style, from the piercing look in his eyes to the subtle modeling of his cheeks and nose.

The young man’s apparel is simple, consisting of a brown garment with a robust texture, highlighted by the contrast with his skin tone. Above, he wears a dark, voluminous cap that follows the contour of his head, adding to the depth of the composition. The limited but effective use of light and shadow imparts a three-dimensional quality to the face, accentuating the subject’s strong jawline and the stern set of his lips. The austere and somber color palette serves to focus the viewer’s attention entirely on the character and expression of the subject, capturing an introspective moment that is both timeless and profound.

Dürer’s masterful application of oil on panel and his acute attention to detail place this portrait as a remarkable work within the Northern Renaissance period, showcasing the artist’s skill in encapsulating the essence of the sitter and reflecting the humanistic focus of the era.

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