Northern Renaissance The Renaissance began in Italy in the late 1400s. The ideas and styles of Michelangelo, Davinci, Raphael, and other great Italian artists started to spread around Northern Europe in the early 1500s. The Northern Renaissance then lasted until about 1615. The art of the Northern Renaissance focused very much on daily life and nature rather than on religious subjects. The artists of this time worked hard to reflect very precise observation. The artists tried to paint exactly what they saw and used a lot of details in their paintings.
Albrecht Dürer Albrecht Dürer was one of the most important Northern Renaissance artists. He was born in Germany in 1471 and died in 1528 (almost 500 years ago). He left thousands of watercolors and drawings and is considered the greatest printmaker ever. He also wrote the first book of mathematics in German and was interested in the application of math to the arts. The Two Musicians
The Young Dürer Dürer’s father was a goldsmith, which is an artisan who works with gold and other precious metals. He taught Albrecht to draw and to work on metal. At 15, Albrecht became an apprentice to a famous German artist and he learned to carve wood. Later he went to Northern Europe and to Italy to study art. Albrecht drew this picture of himself when he was 13 years old. He used a mirror to see himself. Do you like it? Why or why not?
Dürer’s Self-portraits Dürer was one of the first artists to paint many self-portraits (pictures of himself). He made at least 12 self-portraits. Here are 3 of his self-portraits at age 22, 26, and 28 years old. Why do you think he wanted to paint himself? What is different or similar in each painting? Can you see the landscape in the background on the second portrait? Dürer was one of the first European artists to introduce landscape in his works.
Because the camera did not exist at that time, portraits were very popular among important people. Sometimes Dürer would be paid to draw a portrait, or sometimes he would send it as a gift to an important person such as the Cardinal of Brandenburg (left) or Frederick the Wise (right).
Animals in Dürer’s Art Dürer was one of the first artists to view animals as a subject for art. This is one of his most famous watercolor paintings. What are some of the details in this painting? Can you see the little inscription/symbol at the bottom? That was Dürer’s distinctive monogram. A Young Hare
Rhinoceros drawing Rhinoceros woodcut A rhinoceros arrived in Portugal from the Far East in 1514 and was not seen in Europe since the Roman times. Dürer created first a drawing and then a woodcut from a description and sketch of an unknown artist. He never saw the live animal. Does this look like a real rhinoceros? Why or why not? It is possible that this was an extinct rhinoceros or that armor was put on the animal. What do you think?
Dürer’s Drawings Dürer engraved many pictures that illustrated stories and symbols of Christianity. Because most people were illiterate (did not know how to read and write), the paintings of the time served as a way to teach people about religion. The stories reproduced in the pictures had many details. It takes a careful eye to “spy” everything that is in the picture.
Angels Restraining the Four Winds Notice Durer’s emphasis on texture. Everything is so detailed. It looks like you could touch the artwork and it would be textured.
Art Response • Make animal drawings using pencil and eventually sharpie markers • Draw more than one animal • Use a 14 x 17 piece of drawing paper • Find images from the internet as a reference point • Emphasize the texture of the animal • Fill the entire page • You will learn the “gridding” technique to do your animal drawings • What is “gridding?”