Traumgesicht. Durer dokumentiert einen seiner Albtraume (1525) by Albrecht Durer

Traumgesicht. Durer dokumentiert einen seiner Albtraume - Albrecht Durer - 1525

Artwork Information

TitleTraumgesicht. Durer dokumentiert einen seiner Albtraume
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationKunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

About Traumgesicht. Durer dokumentiert einen seiner Albtraume

Albrecht Durer, a German Renaissance artist renowned for his painting, drawing, and printmaking, experienced a profound dream on the night of June 7, 1525. This was no ordinary dream; it was a vivid nightmare about the Apocalypse that shook him to his core. Upon waking, Durer was so moved by the intensity of the images that had visited him in his slumber that he felt compelled to capture them in a watercolor painting. This artwork, which he created immediately after arising, is known as “Traumgesicht” or “Dream Vision.”

The “Dream Vision” is a striking depiction of a cataclysmic deluge, with waters plummeting from the heavens and flooding the earth. Durer’s own description of the dream reveals his terror: he speaks of great waters falling with such force that they drowned the countryside, accompanied by a noise so loud that it left him trembling even after he awoke.

This piece is not only a personal account of Durer’s nightmare but also stands as one of the earliest and most accurate visual representations of a dream in Western art. It diverges from the idealized dream depictions common among artists of his time, offering instead a raw and truthful window into the subconscious mind.

Durer’s “Dream Vision” measures 30 x 43 cm and is executed in watercolor and ink on paper. It is housed in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The work reflects Durer’s mastery of printmaking, a skill he honed under the tutelage of his father, a goldsmith, and Michael Wolgemut, a local painter whose workshop produced woodcut illustrations. His engravings and woodcuts also show the influence of the Italian Renaissance, with their portrayal of religious subjects, classical myths, and realistic landscapes.

The term “Traumgesicht” itself, which translates to “dream vision,” suggests a more intense and vivid experience than a mere “Traum” or dream. It implies a visual and emotional clarity that goes beyond the ordinary dreaming state, capturing the essence of the dreamer’s experience in a way that resonates deeply with the viewer.

In creating “Traumgesicht,” Durer documented one of his nightmares, leaving a legacy that transcends time, allowing us to glimpse the fears and imaginations of a mind from the distant past. The year 1525 marked the creation of this unique piece, a testament to Durer’s ability to transform a moment of personal terror into a work of enduring art.

Other Artwork from Albrecht Durer

More Northern Renaissance Artwork

Scroll to Top