Frankfurt – Albrecht Dürer: “Dürer: His Art in Context” at the Städel Museum, through February 2nd 2014

January 31st, 2014

Albrecht Dürer, Bildnis der Mutter des Künstlers, Barbara Dürer, geb. Holper (1490) Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg Foto: Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg
Albrecht Dürer, Bildnis der Mutter des Künstlers, Barbara Dürer, geb. Holper (1490) Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg Foto: Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg

The Städel Museum in Frankfurt is currently presenting an exhibition of around 250 works focused on the art and influence of German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer, including 190 works by the artist himself, a massive project which required many loan negotiations with museums around the world. Dürer: His Art in Context gives an overview of the artist’s entire career, including 25 panel and canvas paintings, 80 drawings, and 80 prints and books. Also on display are works by some German, Italian, and Dutch artists who inspired Dürer, both contemporaries and those who worked before him, providing a context through which viewers can see the world of Dürer including Martin Schongauer, Hans Baldung Grien, Hans von Kulmbach, and Lucas van Leyden.

Albrecht Dürer, Melencolia I (Die Melancholie) (1514), Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main Foto: Städel Museum – ARTOTHEK
Albrecht Dürer, Melencolia I (Die Melancholie) (1514), Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main Foto: Städel Museum – ARTOTHEK

Born in 1471, Albrecht Dürer was initially known for his woodcuts, now called Meisterstiche (“master prints”), and he gained renown for these works when he was in his 20s. He has been as one of the greatest artists of the Northern Renaissance, one who created altarpieces, religious works, portraits and copper engravings, not to mention a set of watercolors that have given him the title as one of the first European landscape artists. He was focused on Renaissance ideas springing from Italy as well as the German humanists, emphasizing concepts of mathematics, perspective, and ideal proportions.  Putting forth a studied, detailed knowledge of the human form, Dürer’s work helped to lift central European art from its moorings during the Middle Ages, and push forth many of the tenants simultaneously being professed in the Mediterranean region of Europe.

Albrecht Dürer (Installation View), Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Photo Credit: Norbert Miguletz
Albrecht Dürer (Installation View), Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Photo Credit: Norbert Miguletz

Here, Dürer’s work is given full space to show its varying interests, combining detailed studies and portraits with some of his most iconic religious paintings and drawings.  The iconic Melancholia I can be seen here, as can a wide range of the artist’s best paintings and sculptures.  Fully utilizing the wealth of material on view, the show explores the artist’s development and mastery of his craft throughout a series of media, and the museum seems to nearly overflow with works.  Notable in this exhibition is a reunion of the panels of the Heller Altarpiece (1508), created by Dürer with Mathis Gothart Nithart, originally intended for the church of the Dominican monastery of Frankfurt. The trio of works have not been exhibited together since their dispersal among the Historisches Museum Frankfurt, the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe and the Städel Museum, here reunited for the first time.

Joos van Cleve, Der heilige Hieronymus im Studierzimmer (1521), © Private Collection, United Kingdom (courtesy Haboldt & Co., Paris)
Joos van Cleve, Der heilige Hieronymus im Studierzimmer (1521), © Private Collection, United Kingdom (courtesy Haboldt & Co., Paris)

Other contributing institutions include the National Gallery in London, the Prado in Madrid, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum in London, the Uffizi in Florence, The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

The exhibition at the Städel Museum will remain on view through February 2, 2014.

Albrecht Dürer (Installation View), Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Photo Credit: Norbert Miguletz
Albrecht Dürer (Installation View), Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Photo Credit: Norbert Miguletz

Albrecht Dürer, Maria das Kind stillend (1503), Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien © Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien
Albrecht Dürer, Maria das Kind stillend (1503), Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien © Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien

—E. Baker

Related Links:
Exhibition Page [Städel Museum]