Portrait of Bernhard von Reesen (1521) by Albrecht Durer

Portrait of Bernhard von Reesen - Albrecht Durer - 1521

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Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of Bernhard von Reesen
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Dimensions45.5 x 31.5 cm
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationGemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Germany

About Portrait of Bernhard von Reesen

The artwork “Portrait of Bernhard von Reesen” is a significant piece from the Northern Renaissance period, created in 1521 by the renowned artist Albrecht Dürer. Executed in oil on panel, the portrait measures 45.5 by 31.5 centimeters and currently resides in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden, Germany. As a genre, it is classified as a portrait, a testimony to the masterful depiction of the human visage characteristic of the time.

The artwork captures the likeness of an individual, presumably Bernhard von Reesen, with striking realism and attention to detail. The subject is portrayed against a stark, red background that accentuates the contours of the figure. He dons a sizable black hat that fits in with the fashion of the era and casts a shadow over his forehead, lending the face depth and character. The artist’s delicate brushwork is evident in the rendering of the subject’s distinctly textured garments, a fur-trimmed black coat that envelops the upper body and a soft white shirt visible at the collar.

The sitter’s face is marked by its keen, introspective gaze, directed slightly away from the observer, suggesting a moment of quiet contemplation. His expression is calm and reserved, typical of the portraiture style of the time which favored a composed demeanor. In his hands, the subject holds a piece of paper, inscribed with markings that may signify a personal or professional affiliation, adding both to the narrative element of the portrait and the viewer’s curiosity regarding the sitter’s identity or status.

Albrecht Dürer’s adept use of lighting and shade contributes to the lifelike quality of the work, and his mastery in capturing the intricate play of light on different surfaces and textures is evident. This portrait exemplifies the Northern Renaissance’s emphasis on individualism and the meticulous portrayal of human features, granting it an enduring place in the history of art.

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