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Albrecht Dürer

The artist’s major role in the art history

Engravings and woodcuts to be sold at Uppsala Auktionskammare’s Important Sale Week 13 – 16 June 2023

Widely considered to be one of the most important artists of the Northern Renaissance, Albrecht Dürer revolutionised printmaking, drawing and painting technique over the course of his career. His richly detailed compositions enchanted people around him when they were first shown to the public, but are equally important today and highly sought after among collectors. Uppsala Auktionskammare are proud to present a fine collection of prints by Dürer, such as the important pieces ”Saint Jerome in his Study”, ”Nemesis”, ”Saint Eustace”, ”Saint George on Foot” and ”Apollo and Diana” to name a few.

Born on May 21, 1471 in Nuremberg in Germany, Albrecht Dürer was the third child and second son of Albrecht Dürer the Elder and Barbara Holper. His father was a successful goldsmith who moved from Hungary to Nuremberg in 1455 where he married Barbara, daughter of his master. He showed a remarkable talent in drawing as an early child, learning the basics of drawing and goldsmithing from his father. At the age of fifteen, he started as an apprentice to Michael Wolgemut. Anton Koberger, who was a close friend of the family and the godfather of Albrecht Dürer the younger, had left goldsmithing to become a printer and publisher the same year Dürer was born. He became the most successful publisher in Germany and eventually owned twenty-four printing-presses in Germany and abroad. Dürer may have worked on a number of the woodcuts that were published in 1493 by Koberg, as he at that time trained at Wolgemut. After completing his apprenticeship, Dürer travelled for four years to study for different artists and visited Frankfurt, Basel, Strasbourg and the Netherlands. His first ever self portrait was painted at this time (in the collection of the Louvre, Paris). Shortly after his return to his hometown he married Agnes Frey, but the marriage did not result in any children and with Albrecht Dürer the family name eventually died out. 

Dürer also visited Italy several times in his life and studied drawings and engravings by masters such as Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Lorenzo di Credi and Andrea Mantegna. When he returned to Nuremberg after one of his trips to Italy he opened his own workshop, where he created some of his striking prints. Over the next years Dürer was very productive and produced engravings and woodcuts such as ”Saint Michael Fighting the Dragon”, scenes of the ”Great Passion”, ”The Seven Sorrows Polyptych” and the ”Life of the Virgin”. In 1496 he created ”The Prodigal Son, which the Renaissance art historian Giorgio Vasari was widely impressed by some decades later. Spectacular scenes such as ”Saint Eustace” and ”Nemesis” with highly detailed backgrounds and animals were executed at this time. He once said: “Nature holds the beautiful, for the artist who has the insight to extract it. Thus, beauty lies even in humble, perhaps ugly things, and the ideal, which bypasses or improves on nature, may not be truly beautiful in the end.” After a second journey to Italy in 1505-1507, Dürer again returned to Nuremberg where he remained until 1520. At this point in his life, his reputation as an artist and engraver had spread throughout Europe and attracted a lot of interest. In the following years, Dürer created some of his most celebrated works which are today extremely popular among collectors. Included in this sale is ”Saint Jerome in His Study”, one of Dürer’s masterpieces that he created in 1514. 

Albrecht Dürer’s impact on artists of succeeding generations, especially among printmaking, is undoubtedly huge. Even during his lifetime he influenced artists across the world through his reputation as one of the foremost engravers of his time and by spreading his prints during his travels to foreign countries. Dürer gave visual form to some of the most significant changes in Christian culture and contributed to art history by completely revolutionising printmaking. 

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Fredrik Fellbom


Skulptur och grafik
Tel: 0707-51 81 31

Sofie Bexhed


Tel: 0705-22 61 62

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