A walk in time: Dürer’s journey through early renaissance art

I was fortunate enough to visit “The Credit Suisse Exhibition Dürer's Journeys: Travels of a Renaissance Artist” showcased in the National gallery in London and was eager to enter and be enveloped in the world of Albrecht Dürer who’s works feature such intricacies, that I can’t help but to marvel at the amount of time taken to include details such as veins, eyelashes, individual hairs that bring the paintings alive.

In terms of biography, Dürer was a skilled theorist, painter and printmaker born in May 1471 to a Hungarian goldsmith, originating from Nuremburg, Germany who voyaged through several countries including the low countries ( consisting of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) as well as Italy and this cultural influence can be reflected through his artworks.

Dürer was extremely talented from a young age so was an apprentice to Michael Wohlgemuth (a German painter and printmaker) at the age of fifteen in 1486. Due to this immense artistic capability, Dürer demonstrated his multi-dimensional artistic skill through using a plethora of artistic techniques, canvases and mediums such as engraving, water colour, oil and wood cut and different coloured canvases such as blue and green. In doing so, he creates a variation in style and demonstrates that he can apply his endowment to various styles and explore numerous ideologies. This can be observed through his repetitive portrayal of religious imagery in the form of divine emblems such as the Madonna with Jesus Christ and cherubs such as the imagery in the painting seen attached.

The depiction of the Madonna with iridescent, golden locks shimmering in the breeze, holding Jesus Christ in her beautiful magenta and vermilion gown shows that he can apply himself equally as well to colourful paintings as his intricate, black and white engravings. The variation between shadows and light captures the gown in an almost photographic lens with the suspension of the gown creating an almost divine apparition- the idealistic portrayal of the Madonna with the azure sky illuminating her hair and Christ himself.

His mastery in engraving can also be observed through works such as the one featured in the black and white engraving (titled “The Prodigal Son”)

Dürer’s marvellous engravings feature details such as the eyes of the animals and hairs to give the illusion of texture, adding another dimension to his art. Dürer manages to encapsulate the contrast between dark and lighter tones to juxtapose the otherwise ordinary scene depicting a farmer kneeling amongst pigs with several rustic houses appearing in the background.

Overall, I found this exhibition to be a marvellous display of Dürer’s talent proven through his mastery and application of several techniques and mediums to showcase his multi-faceted art and thoroughly enjoyed wondering through his artistic journey!