St. Apollonia (1521) by Albrecht Durer

St. Apollonia - Albrecht Durer - 1521

Artwork Information

TitleSt. Apollonia
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance

About St. Apollonia

The artwork “St. Apollonia” was created by Albrecht Dürer in 1521. This piece of art is crafted on paper and is considered part of the Northern Renaissance movement. The genre of the painting is religious, embodying the characteristics of its period with attention to detail and a focus on religious subject matter.

The artwork depicts St. Apollonia, who is traditionally recognized as a Christian martyr from the third century. Dürer has rendered her in profile, capturing her gentle yet melancholic expression. The saint is characterized by delicate features: a serene gaze directed downward, a softly contoured nose, and a tenderly closed mouth. Her hair is pulled back, allowing for the full contemplation of her facial characteristics. Subtle shading brings out the contours of her face, neck, and chest, exhibiting the Northern Renaissance’s preoccupation with realism.

St. Apollonia is often associated with dental pain because of her martyrdom, during which her teeth were violently extracted. Dürer’s representation, however, focuses on her piety and calm amidst suffering. This portrayal encapsulates the time’s religious piety and humanistic interest in the individual’s inner life. Dürer’s masterful use of line and shadow on paper skillfully conveys both the physical presence and spiritual grace of the saint. The artwork is marked with Dürer’s famous monogram and the year of creation, which provides authenticity and a time reference for this significant piece.

This piece is a prime example of Albrecht Dürer’s capability to infuse his work with depth and emotion, reflecting the artist’s stature as one of the foremost figures of the Northern Renaissance, where emphasis was placed on precision and an intimate portrayal of religious figures.

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