Skull (1521) by Albrecht Durer

Skull - Albrecht Durer - 1521

Artwork Information

ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance

About Skull

The artwork “Skull” by Albrecht Dürer, dating back to 1521, is a remarkable example of the Northern Renaissance art movement and falls within the vanitas genre. It serves as a study related to his work on “St. Jerome.” This piece is characterized by its detailed and realistic depiction of a human skull, showcasing Dürer’s masterful skill in rendering textures and light to create a somber and contemplative mood.

In the artwork, the skull is depicted from a slightly angled profile view, resting on what appears to be a flat surface. The fine hatching and attention to detail, such as the depiction of individual teeth and the texture of the bone, are indicative of Dürer’s precise technique. Light plays across the surface of the skull, accentuating its curves and hollows, and casting it against a shadowed background. The shadow lines etched into the drawing suggest a space in which the skull is laid, giving it depth and grounding the object in its setting. There is a notable contrast between the polished smoothness of the dome of the skull and the intricate inner details visible in the eye sockets and nasal cavity, further illustrating Dürer’s skill in rendering different textures. Dürer’s monogram “AD” and the year “1521” are visibly inscribed in the drawing, confirming the creator and the time of production.

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