Study to a large fortune (c.1500 – c.1502) by Albrecht Durer

Study to a large fortune - Albrecht Durer - c.1500 - c.1502

Artwork Information

TitleStudy to a large fortune
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Datec.1500 - c.1502
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationBritish Museum, London, UK

About Study to a large fortune

The artwork “Study to a large fortune” by Albrecht Dürer is a sketch and study dating from around 1500 to 1502, created during the Northern Renaissance. This piece is part of the collection at the British Museum in London, UK.

This drawing showcases Dürer’s keen interest in human anatomy, proportion, and the study of drapery and motion. On the right side of the composition, there’s a detailed study of a male figure viewed from behind. He stands on one leg, the other lifted and resting on some unseen support, giving us a sense of balance and poise; his hands are clasped in front of him. The man’s muscles are carefully outlined, indicating Dürer’s pursuit of anatomical accuracy and his understanding of the human body.

On the left, there is a meticulous study of an eagle’s wing, showing a stark contrast with the human figure. The wing is spread out with individual feathers carefully rendered to capture their texture and form. The level of detail signifies Dürer’s dedication to depicting each element of his composition with precision and realism.

Both subjects, the man and the eagle’s wing, are drawn with clear, confident lines. The presence of the wing and the human figure side by side could be an exploration of different aspects of nature and the living form, a common practice among artists of the Renaissance seeking to understand the world through art. The monogram “D” with a small “T” beneath it, seen at the bottom of the sketch, is likely Dürer’s signature.

Overall, this study is representative of Dürer’s masterful technique in drawing and his relentless pursuit of knowledge in the fields of anatomy and nature, typical for artists of the Northern Renaissance who sought to merge artistic skill with scientific observation.

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