Museums and Art

Albrecht Altdorfer: the mysterious master of the German Renaissance

Albrecht Altdorfer: the mysterious master of the German Renaissance


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There are very few reliable facts from his biography in history. It is known that the artist’s father shortly before the birth of his son received the rights of a city dweller, which means admission to one of the city workshops or guilds. Information about the nature of the occupations of Altdorfer Sr. has not been preserved. Judging by the fact that Albrecht will easily receive the title of city architect in the future, it can be assumed that his father was also related to construction.

Altdorfer's date of birth also has not been preserved. Historians suggest that this happened around 1480. There is no information about the artist’s childhood and youth. It is known that for some reason the artist's family left Regensburg and moved to Nuremberg. Then again comes a gap in the biography of one and a half dozen years. These years are the time for training and obtaining a profession, about which no information remained.

Tradition has it that Altdorfer studied with Dürer. Similar conclusions are drawn by art historians who have studied the manner of writing of Albrecht, his monogram, reminiscent of the signature of his teacher. But the master’s student work was not preserved. His first signed work dates back to 1506, the work is very mature and expertly executed.

According to a medieval tradition, Altdorfer makes several trips, improving his professional skills. One of the journeys on the Danube played a decisive role in the direction of the artist’s creative thought, led to the creation of an entire school of painting, which was later called the Danube. During this journey, the artist discovers the beauty of nature in the south of Germany, Austria, and Hungary. This love of nature will become a source of inspiration for Altdorfer throughout his creative life.

The master’s work was so new, vibrant, expressive and interesting that the fame of Altdorfer quickly spread throughout Germany. His customers were the Grand Dukes of Bavaria, the rich monasteries of Austria, German princes and even the emperor. The Germans, in his help, were finally able to see the beauty of their nature, its picturesqueness and powerful sound.

Among the works of Albrecht Altdorfer, landscapes appeared in their pure form - this was a revolution in German painting. In his works on biblical, mythological, allegorical subjects, the master also attaches great importance to the landscape, which not only acts as a decoration, but plays an equal role in the paintings.

In the work of Altdorfer, portraits stand apart. The artist’s ability to portray the inner beauty of a person, spirituality, to unravel the secrets of nature - these are just a few parameters that have earned the artist fame.

The master’s approach to writing biblical stories also looks interesting. He boldly destroys all medieval canons, and famous biblical characters in his works sound unusually fresh, realistic and strong.


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