Albrecht Dürer is a prominent figure in Northern Renaissance, specifically in Germany. He was a painter and printmaker. He studied under his father and Michael Wolegumut. By the age of thirty Dürer had already created prints that were considered master works, and that he became most famous for. Dürer’s prints are extremely detailed; they show excellent skill within the art field.
Melencolia I, 1514
This engraving is based on a medical theory by Hippocrates that stated that emotions of a person are based on an excess amount or lack of humors. Melancholy was believed to have been caused by an excess or insufficient amount of black bile in the body which can be produced by the kidneys or spleen. This is the least favored humor (the other emotions created are: yellow bile – anger, phlegm – calmness, and blood – cheerful) and it was believed that people who were melancholic were more likely to be driven to insanity. The figure in this painting is believed to be a representation of melancholy itself, and this may possibly be a figurative Dürer in a melancholic state. The figure is surrounded by geometrical shapes, or references to geometry, which shows Dürer desire to advance geometrical shapes in his artwork.
Ecce Homo, from The Passion, 1512
Though I am unable to find much information describing this engraving, I still decided to show it because of it’s extensive detail. Ecce Homo is a part of the Passion where Christ was humiliatingly presented to a crowd of people who were to decide whether Christ or Barabbas should be crucified. Based on just the story, I’m going to assume that the individual next to Christ is Pontius Pilate. Also, I’m going to assume the figure below Christ (who is more brighter than the rest of the crowd) may be a soldier.
Sudarium displayed by two Angels, 1513
This is another engraving by Dürer that shows vast amount of details. This work shows the Sudarium of Christ that Saint Veronica received when she wiped the face of Christ during his journey to Golgotha (the Mountain of Skulls); this was the 6th station of the cross. Veronica gave her veil to Christ to wipe his face from sweat and blood and afterwards Christ face appeared on the veil. In this engraving, two angels are holding and honoring the veil that has Christ’s face imprinted on it. The face itself appears to be very real and almost three dimensional.
The Man of Sorrows by the Column with the Virgin and Saint John, 1509
Lastly, this engraving is meant to show when Christ is dead; Christ is fully standing here and does not look dead. Here Dürer presents Christ with his five wounds: two on his hands, two on his feet, and one from Christ’s side/chest/rib. Christ is also presented with his crown of thorns and the material from the flagellation (column, whip, and rope). In the background the three crosses are presented and a ladder is left on the cross that Christ was taking off of. Holy Mary and Saint John the Evangelist are kneeling before Christ. It appears as though Christ’s blood is coming from his rib and going onto Mary and John. This engraving is very different from most lamentation scenes; to begin with, Christ is standing and does not appear to be dead. Usually in lamentation scenes Christ is dead and has severe wounds visible, while here Christ has wounds but they do not seem as intense as other artists show it. This shows Dürer’s ability to be creative with a well known subject matter of the time.