Portrait of Erasmus of Rotterdam (1520) by Albrecht Durer

Portrait of Erasmus of Rotterdam - Albrecht Durer - 1520

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of Erasmus of Rotterdam
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationLouvre, Paris, France

About Portrait of Erasmus of Rotterdam

The artwork “Portrait of Erasmus of Rotterdam” by Albrecht Dürer, dated 1520, represents a masterful example of Northern Renaissance portraiture. Currently housed at the Louvre in Paris, France, this work captures the likeness of the renowned humanist and scholar Erasmus of Rotterdam, reflecting the period’s characteristic attention to detail and individual personality.

Examining the image provided, one can see that the portrait is a monochromatic drawing featuring the subject, Erasmus, in three-quarter profile. The intricate lines and shading techniques employed by Dürer skillfully render the textures of Erasmus’s clothing, the soft folds of his garments, and the distinct features of his face. Dürer’s precision in capturing the human form is evident in the lines that trace the contours of Erasmus’s face, the delicate rendering of his eyes, nose, and closed lips, as well as in the way the hat rests on his head.

Above the figure’s head, Dürer has inscribed the year “1520,” verifying the date of the work’s completion. The overall manner in which the subject is depicted — thoughtful and introspective — suggests an individual of intellectual prominence, which aligns with Erasmus’s reputation as a leading figure of the Renaissance humanist movement. Erasmus appears contemplative, with his eyes cast slightly downward in a serene expression, consistent with his scholarly pursuits and philosophical demeanor. Overall, the portrait stands as a testament to Dürer’s artistic prowess and the rich cultural milieu of the Northern Renaissance.

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