Art, Architecture and Visual Culture

Larry Silver

Dürer often represented armour and made several designs for novel forms of armour for his imperial patron Maximilian I. This chapter explores Dürer’s engagement with the representation of armour throughout his lifetime, particularly through Maximilian’s tomb project. Through his depictions of and novel designs for armour, we can see Dürer pushing both the limits and the conventions of the woodcut and etching artforms.

in Albrecht Dürer’s material world
The matter of etching
Edward H. Wouk

Albrecht Dürer’s Landscape with a Cannon is the final and most ambitious of the six etchings on iron that the artist produced between 1515 and 1518. This chapter discusses Dürer’s ambitions towards innovation and testing the limits of new techniques, as well as why he brought the seemingly incongruous motifs of landscape, cannon and foreign figures into conversation in a single image, and why he chose to do so in the novel medium of etching on iron.

in Albrecht Dürer’s material world

The painter and printmaker Albrecht Dürer is one of the most important figures of the German Renaissance. This book accompanies the first major exhibition of the Whitworth art gallery’s outstanding Dürer collection in over half a century. It offers a new perspective on Dürer as an intense observer of the worlds of manufacture, design and trade that fill his graphic art. Artworks and artefacts examined here expose understudied aspects of Dürer’s art and practice, including his attentive examination of objects of daily domestic use, his involvement in economies of local manufacture and exchange, the microarchitectures of local craft and, finally, his attention to cultures of natural and philosophical inquiry and learning.

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Sasha Handley
and
Charles Zika

Pre-modern European cities were tightly knit communities in which homes were located in very close proximity. Neighbouring households, often including artisan workshops, formed the basis of the city's social, economic, political and religious networks. This was the case for Albrecht Dürer's city of Nuremberg. This chapter considers Dürer’s hometown, the different homes in which he lived and the objects that were used to decorate them. This develops into a consideration of how his physical and domestic environment influenced his creative output, in particular the Small Passion prints, Dürer’s most extensive and possibly best-known cycle of woodcuts.

in Albrecht Dürer’s material world
Jennifer Spinks
,
Edward H. Wouk
, and
Danielle Gravon

Albrecht Dürer’s material world, the first major exhibition of the Whitworth’s outstanding Dürer collection in over half a century, juxtaposes examples of Dürer’s woodcuts, etchings and engravings from the Whitworth’s collection with a range of objects from Dürer’s time. The exhibition also brings new perspectives to the history of collecting Dürer’s art in the northwest of England. This catalogue explores the history of exhibiting Dürer’s art in Manchester and presents essays by leading scholars examining individual Dürer prints in relation to their material contexts, focusing on cultures of making and consumption, meaning and interpretation, context and legacy.

in Albrecht Dürer’s material world
Saint Jerome in his Study
Dagmar Eichberger

This chapter discusses different versions of the representation of Saint Jerome that Dürer completed during his lifetime as part of a constant search for the best possible representation of Saint Jerome. In order to do justice to his various roles as hermit, author, scholar, and man of the church Dürer was inspired by those who had previously experimented with the subject in Italy and in Northern Europe as they motivated him to find new solutions. The culmination in the 1514 engraving of Saint Jerome in his Study is of a wise and spiritual intellectual paired with a world full of material objects which encourage the viewer to connect with Jerome's life as well as everyday aspects of quotidian life in Nuremberg.

in Albrecht Dürer’s material world
Matthew S. Champion

Dürer’s famous engraving Melencolia features different objects around the personified seated figure of Melancholy. Measures of time and weight informed daily life and manufacturing in Nuremberg and played a critical role in maintaining Nuremberg's reputation as a hub at the intersection of trade groups across Europe. Care and precision relating to measures of time and records of number, length and weight were also critical to mercantile practices. The chapter considers the objects depicted in the engraving, including astrological and astronomical time measurement devices, the sand glass, the sundial, the bell and the scales as a network of objects and images that allow us to reflect on the role of measurement in the creation of melancholic reflection.

in Albrecht Dürer’s material world
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Enviromateriality and ingenuity in Albrecht Dürer’s material world
Stefan Hanß

This chapter explores Albrecht Dürer's series of 6 intricately interlaced symmetrical designs of knots. As a visual and intellectual feat, these woodcuts have been interpreted in reference to earlier engravings by Leonardo Da Vinci. Dürer’s Knots thus materialise the artist's interest in the decorative arts as well as the close artistic and consumerist exchanges between Nuremberg and Venice in the age of the material Renaissance. The author recontextualises Dürer’s Knots with artefacts like embroidery or lacework, natural materials like plants and metals, and contemporary works of print like herbals, botanical manuals and philosophical treaties to illustrate how Dürer's engagement with environmental matter impacted his artistic thinking and practice.

in Albrecht Dürer’s material world
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Albrecht Dürer’s Nemesis
Jennifer Spinks

This chapter uses Albrecht Dürer’s work Nemesis as a means by which to discuss his command of technique and his willingness to innovate with composition. The source poem ‘Manto’ by Angelo Poliziano as well as specific objects depicted in the work, including the bridle and the cup. Dürer’s Nemesis and the objects within it were there to be individually pondered but also to be understood as a dynamic contribution to the material renaissance that Dürer helped to craft.

in Albrecht Dürer’s material world
The Mass of Saint Gregory
Charles Zika

The scene depicted in the woodcut The Mass of Saint Gregory was familiar to sixteenth-century audiences. This chapter argues that Dürer's woodcut sought to instil new meaning into this late medieval subject. Shaped by his city’s possession of sacred Passion relics and his own personal involvement in their communal celebration, Dürer's print included some small but important deviations from the traditional iconography of the Gregory Mass. The links to physical Passion objects held by the city of Nuremberg made this narrative more immediate and present so that the woodcut becomes something through which one could share in Pope Gregory's vision.

in Albrecht Dürer’s material world