As one of the Renaissance’s biggest and most well-known names, Albrecht Dürer created deeply religious pictures along with some disturbing creations. A current exhibition in Texas showcases a permanent collection of Dürer’s prints that features the full range of the master’s imagination.
Fourteen original prints by Renaissance genius Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) feature in an exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art. Albeit small, both in terms of the exhibition’s scope and scale of the works themselves (many are approximately 3 x 5 inches), the show creates big impressions due to the range of subjects represented, iconographic models, dynamic compositions, and detail. The project was organized by the McDermott Curatorial Intern for European Art.  

Albrecht Dürer, “The Sea Monster,” ca. 1498, engraving, 9 3/4 x 7 1/2 in. (c) Dallas Museum of Art

One stunning example from the show is Dürer’s “St. George on Foot,” circa 1502–1503. Standing at center and seen at full length is St. George, clad in armor and standing over a slain dragon. As arguably the best printmaker in history, Dürer has treated the Saint’s face with an unparalleled delicacy and sensitivity. Keeping the print’s size in mind, the masterful modeling — achieved through hatching and cross-hatching — is worthy of extended consideration and appreciation.

Albrecht Dürer, “The Entombment of Christ,” 1512, engraving, 4 1/2 x 3 in. (c) Dallas Museum of Art

Saintly subjects, such as “St. George on Foot,” are juxtaposed next to fantastical imagery, such as “The Sea Monster.” An unprecedented amount of detail has been included in this print, which displays what appears to be the capture of a man’s wife by a horned and bearded merman. Upon close consideration, one can discern individual scales on the monster’s tail. As we journey toward the background, we can make out individual trees, rock formations, and a walled city in the distance — even the individual bricks in the wall are indicated.

Albrecht Dürer, “St. Paul,” 1514, engraving, 4 3/4 x 3 in. (c) Dallas Museum of Art

“Saints and Monsters: Prints by Albrecht Dürer” opened in April and will show through November 15.
To learn more, visit the Dallas Museum of Art.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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