Renaissance art: Albrecht Dürer in Frankfurt

The Renaissance artists changed the view of the people of the Middle Ages. Their design principles are still interesting today, and some photographers also deal with it. Reason enough to look at the current Dürer exhibition as a photographer.

Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), the exceptional German Renaissance artist, is currently exhibited at the Frankfurt Städel Museum in an outstanding special exhibition: 200 exhibits and works by Dürer's competitors will make the art world of Frankfurt 5 centuries ago imaginable.

Two popular pictures of Dürer are missing: the rabbit as well as the praying hands. The latter belonged to the preliminary studies of the famous Heller Altar, which a Frankfurt merchant had commissioned at Dürer. The altar, consisting of a central picture and two folding pages, can be seen in the exhibition. Even if the medium is no longer the original, the exhibited version captivates with vividness and color.

For mediaeval art comparatively bright and clear is the painting of Hiob, which became the victim of a bet between God and Satan. Additional materials play a role: pencil drawings show Christ in various forms of representation on the mount of olives. A series of woodcuts are also impressive, with delicate representations of linocuts and copper engravings.

Dürer was not only one of the most famous and successful artists of his time in his lifetime, but also a resourceful business man who was concerned with brand protection and used the new possibilities of duplication by means of woodcut printing. In a nationwide distributed flyer "Rinocerus" he shows a Nashorm with explanatory lines. Was this the forerunner of today's tabloids? Dürer had created the rhino according to descriptions, but did not see it himself. Therefore, Dürer can not compete with zoologically correct depictions in this presentation, and the rhinoceros acts somewhat like a fable.

Dürer's image of St. Hieronymus from the Netherlands with the skull as a transience symbol was copied and adapted many times. A successful adaptation of Joos van Cleve is also in the exhibition.

The portrait of an honorary porte for Emperor Maximilian is the largest work of the exhibition. It consists of 200 woodcuts on 30 sheets of paper, which have been combined and colored to form an overall picture. The Emperor controlled the pictures and demoted Duerer to the order designer. It was a multi-year project in a working process consisting of propaganda, historiography, design, graphics, printing technology, colouration, etc., in which several of Dürer's collaborators co-operated. Both Dürer and the Italian Barberi were intensively concerned with the natural proportions of the human body. Examples are also shown in the exhibition.

The exhibition is running until the 02.02.2014 in the Städel Museum, Schaumainkai 63, 60596 Frankfurt am Main.


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