St. Bartholomew (1523) by Albrecht Durer

St. Bartholomew - Albrecht Durer - 1523

Artwork Information

TitleSt. Bartholomew
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance

About St. Bartholomew

The artwork “St. Bartholomew” is an engraving created by the German artist Albrecht Dürer in 1523. It exemplifies the Northern Renaissance art movement and is categorized within the genre of religious painting.

The engraving portrays St. Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles, in a standing pose. He holds a large knife in his right hand, alluding to his martyrdom, where he was flayed alive, hence the knife symbolizes the instrument of his torture. His left hand clutches a book, possibly denoting his status as an apostle and a symbol of the Gospel that he spread during his lifetime. His gaze meets the viewer, and his facial expression is solemn and introspective.

St. Bartholomew’s attire includes a draped cloak with intricate folds, demonstrating Dürer’s skill in capturing texture and detail. The background is relatively bare, with just a suggestion of a natural setting that includes a tree trunk to the left and what might be a ground or horizon line beneath his feet. The detailed work on his curly hair and beard, as well as the folds in the robes, capture the light and shade effects, lending the figure a three-dimensional quality.

This engraving is notable for its exquisite detail, typical of Dürer’s works, and reflects the careful observation characteristic of the Northern Renaissance. The meticulous rendering allows for a lifelike representation of the saint, highlighting not just his spiritual significance but also humanizing him through details such as his intense, reflective expression and the textures of his cloak and hair.

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