Posted by: Paul A. Forsyth | May 21, 2013

Tuesday Art Blogging, Albrecht Dürer Edition

Agnes Duerer 1494

Albrecht Dürer, Agnes Frey, 1494

Andrew Butterfield discusses this drawing in an article about Dürer in the New York Review of Books:

In the summer of 1494, soon after his engagement, Albrecht Dürer made a startlingly intimate drawing of his fiancée Agnes Frey. One might have expected a twenty-three-year-old to depict his betrothed as a source of love, or comfort or well-being, all the more since her substantial dowry would soon launch his independent career. Instead, Albrecht showed Agnes twisted up in a knot of anxious introversion. She looks withdrawn and preoccupied, and the circles under her heavy-lidded eyes may even make one think she has been crying.

In its frank portrayal of an informal moment of unguarded emotion, there had never been a drawing quite like this before. Typically portraiture was honorific and meant to represent the exemplary virtues of the person shown; Dürer instead often sought to capture the idiosyncratic and psychological characteristics of the people he portrayed. He was fascinated with the close scrutiny of dark and brooding emotion. This is especially evident in his self-portraits, many of which show him in states of melancholy, doubt, or disease.

(H/T: Morgan Meis, 3 Quarks Daily.)

Here are a few of Dürer’s self-portraits:


Albrecht Dürer, Portrait of the Artist Holding a Thistle, 1493

Dürer painted this self-portrait when he was 22, when he was living in Italy. He probably painted it to send back to his fiancée in Germany.

Selbstporträt, by Albrecht Dürer, from Prado in Google Earth

Albrecht Dürer, Self-portrait, 1498

Albrecht Dürer - Adorazione dei Magi - Google Art Project

Albrecht Dürer, The Adoration of the Magi, 1504

Notice that the Wise Man wearing green and gold looks a lot like Dürer.

Durer selfporitrait

Albrecht Dürer, Self-portrait in a Fur-collared Robe, 1500

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.



  1. Dürer was amazing. I have “Melencolia I” hanging above my desk.

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