Durer and the Reformation Essay

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Albrecht Dürer died in 1528 as a consequence of a fever contracted on one of his numerous journeys in Europe, undertaken in pursuit of knowledge, patronage, the elusive rules of proportion and the development of his skill as an artist. (On this particular occasion his curiosity to see a whale had led him to take a boat out in bad weather while in the Netherlands, with the result that he became ill and never quite recovered)

In 1526 he had undertaken his last great work, which has become known as The Four Apostles. The diptych was possibly originally intended for the wings of an altar-piece and which had occupied him for some years, was not however ordered by a patron, but executed under Dürer’s own initiative and presented to the
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This was eventually and reluctantly indulged by his father when, at the age of fifteen, he was permitted to join the studios of Michael Wolgemut, a woodcut illustrator.(Moore p58) (Dürer kept detailed family history notes, and these and other biographical details which have come down to us are taken from his own writings.) Printing, which was to transform communications and the spread of ideas, was burgeoning during the childhood of this boy who would become one of the first great mass communicators. In fact the process was invented by a German goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg only about a decade or two before Dürer’s birth. In its early days it was known as ‘the German art’ and disseminated quickly throughout Germany and along German trade routes in Europe.(Brittanica)

At the age of twenty- three, after his marriage to Agnes Frey (who was eight years his junior and about whom very little is known, though it may have been more a companionship rather than a passionate relationship), Dürer set off on the first of his influential journeys to other parts of Europe. This trip, spent mainly in Venice, was to expose the young man to Italian masters, painters and engravers, who had been exploring classical themes and in particular the articulation and proportion of the human body. Dürer’s works of this period show the free spirit of the new age of the Renaissance. (Britannica) His work begins to indicate

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