Albrecht Durer

Learn about ALBRECHT DURER (1471-1528), Old Masters artist,their past and upcoming works offered at auction at Christie's

Printmaker, painter, and pioneer of the Northern Renaissance, Albrecht Dürer stands as a colossal figure in the history of art, a revolutionary talent who transformed the antiquated 15th-century traditions of Northern European art with ideas imported from the Italian Renaissance. By spreading the ideals of the Renaissance across Germany, Dürer, in turn, created a new kind of Renaissance specific to the North, a fusion of Italian innovations in optics and form with the new Northern European humanistic ideologies of Lutheranism and Protestantism. His work, especially in printmaking, would introduce a radical secular emphasis to art and have a profound influence, not only on the Renaissance but on the entire course of the history of art.

Born in Nuremburg, Dürer was the son of a goldsmith of Hungarian origin. At 15 he began his apprenticeship under Nuremberg painter and illustrator, Michael Wolgemut, and by the early 1490s he was working as a journeyman printmaker in Basle and Strasbourg. In 1494 he made his first trip to Venice and, on returning to Nuremburg, embarked on an extraordinary period of creativity inspired by what he has seen and learnt in Italy, producing a string of Renaissance masterpieces including his iconic Self-Portrait (1500), the woodcut sequence, The Apocalypse (1498), and the extraordinary watercolours, Young Hare (1502) and Great Piece of Turf (1503).

When Dürer returned again to Italy, in 1505, he did so as Germany’s most celebrated artist. Over the next decade, in both Italy and Germany, he would produce some of the greatest works of the Renaissance, including his Adoration of the Trinity (1511) and Feast of the Rosary (1506). In the early 1510s he produced his print masterpieces, Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513), Saint Jerome in his Study (1514) and Melencolia I (1514).

In 1512 Dürer became an official court artist to the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I, for whom his workshop produced the monumental woodcuts, Triumphal Chariot (c.1518) and Triumphal Arch (1515). In the last years of his life, Dürer openly converted to Lutheranism.

Upcoming lots by this artist