Study of male hands and arms (1504) by Albrecht Durer

Study of male hands and arms - Albrecht Durer - 1504

Artwork Information

TitleStudy of male hands and arms
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationBritish Museum, London, UK

About Study of male hands and arms

“Study of male hands and arms” is an artwork by Albrecht Dürer, created in 1504. A notable figure of the Northern Renaissance, Dürer used pen and paper as his mediums to create this sketch and study. It currently resides in the British Museum, London, UK, and is an exemplar of Dürer’s meticulous attention to detail and his commitment to the study of human anatomy, which was a hallmark of the Renaissance period.

The artwork presents a series of detailed drawings of male hands and arms in various positions and states of action. On the left, there is a near-complete depiction of an arm holding a thin object, which could be some sort of staff or tool, displaying detailed musculature and the interaction of light and shadow. The central drawing showcases a powerful arm from a different angle with pronounced muscles and prominent veins, demonstrating Dürer’s skill in rendering the human form. On the right, several hands are illustrated in different gestures from various perspectives, highlighting Dürer’s interest in the capabilities and expressiveness of human appendages. The bottom section includes studies of a puffy sleeve and a hand holding a small branch, which might suggest a connection to a larger work or a study of how clothing interacts with the human body. The collection of drawings on the page provides invaluable insight into the artist’s process of mastering the depiction of the human figure, and more specifically, hands and arms.

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