The German painter and printmaker Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) was one of history’s most creative graphic artists. The central figure in Northern European printmaking in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, Dürer bridged the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The MFA’s collection of Dürer’s graphic work is one of the finest in America.
Born in Nuremberg, Dürer learned the essentials of engraving from his goldsmith father. After four years in the Rhineland and Switzerland, he traveled to northern Italy, an unusual trip for German artists at the time. In Italy he absorbed the Renaissance ideals of beauty, rational perspective, and harmony, which he popularized through his graphic work.
The exhibition will include works by German, Swiss, and Netherlandish contemporaries, including Martin Schongauer, Lucas van Leyden, and Hans Baldung Grien. Prints such as Schongauer’s Saint Anthony Tormented by Demons, which reveal the late medieval fascination with the fantastic and demonic, will be shown alongside examples of classical form of the Renaissance, such as Dürer’s Adam and Eve, a study in human proportion.