* 1471 Nürnberg
† 1528 Nürnberg
Albrecht Dürer was born at Nuremberg in 1471. At first he was trained in goldsmith’s art by his father. In the years between 1486 and 1490 he developed his painting skills under the guidance of Michael Wohlgemut. During his early period of artistic activity he created ca. 70 paintings, 100 copper engravings, 350 woodcuts and 900 hand drawings. Not to be forgotten are the self portrait from 1484 in silver pen and the famous Munich self portrait in oil from 1500. He traveled through Italy in 1494/95 and made first landscapes in watercolors, followed by the disturbing woodcut series on the apocalypse (1498), by means of which he referenced the religious and political conflicts of his days. He continues the secularization of sacral themes in the woodcut series "Great Passion" (1498-1510) and "Life of the Virgin" (1501-11). In 1520/21 he went travelling again and created a number of studies and several dramatic religious drafts. Additionally, he made numerous portraits, which mark the heyday of his creation between 1521 and 1526. Dürer’s work "The Four Apostles" from 1526 must be seen as his political-ethical legacy, as he gave it to the councilmen of his hometown Nuremberg a year after it had become Protestant, in order to remind of the importance of holding on to Lutheranism. Striving for universality, Dürer created an oeuvre that, both in terms of artistic variety as well as intellectuality, leads from traditional religious themes to scolarliness, and in return to synthesis – as it is the case with the famous engraving "Melancolia I" (1513/14). Albrecht Dürer died in Nuremberg in 1528.