Albrecht Altdorfer Biography Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Learn more about one of the most talented members of the Danube School and also perhaps the first modern landscape artist in Europe in this extensive Albrecht Altdorfer biography.

Albrecht Altdorfer was born between 1480 and 1486. He may not have been born in Regensburg, but he was able to become a citizen of the city because of his long stay there. He officially became a citizen of Regensburg in 1505. Albrecht is famous for being one of the founders of landscape painting and printmaking. He particularly loved the landscapes of Germany and Austria and usually painted them as the main focus of the pictures. Albrecht Altdorfer was a key figure in the Danube School of art. This school of art was associated with landscape paintings that had biblical, spiritual, or historical significance.

Albrecht Altdorfer believed that human beings were not meant to dominate nature but were meant to be part of it. He tried to communicate this idea in his works. His paintings featured landscapes as the subject. Albrecht is likely to have been heavily influenced by Lucas Cranach the Elder. His works contain elements of Lucas’ works.

One of Albrecht’s most important works is the Landscape with a Footbridge painting. This was painted between 1518 and 1520, and it is claimed to have been the first landscape painting on oil. The picture depicts a wooden bridge that spans a river. Mountains, a church spire, and some houses can be seen in the distance. This picture is available at the National Gallery in London, UK.

Another famous painting was The Battle of Alexander at Issus. This particular painting was commissioned by the Duke of Bavaria in 1528 and was meant to be part of his collection of historical paintings. This picture portrays the 333 BC Battle of Issus where Alexander led his troops to defeat the Persians. Some people claim that the picture was meant to liken this battle to that of Europe and the Ottoman Empire. The painting of the sky also suggests that the picture had some religious inspiration. This painting falls under a subcategory of art known as world landscapes and is widely regarded as Albrecht Altdorfer’s masterpiece. Presently, it is available at the Alte Pinakothek art museum in Munich.

Christ Taking Leave of His Mother was a major subject of Christian art in the 15th and 16th centuries. Albrecht Altdorfer made his own version of this subject. The picture is meant to show the moment when Jesus left Jerusalem as he anticipated his own impending death. In the picture, the Virgin Mary is grief-stricken and is attended to by four women. Like his other pictures, Albrecht Altdorfer elongated the hands and feet of his subjects and still dominated the image with landscapes. The sun in the picture seems to be setting, and this may have been meant to indicate the impending death of Christ.

Other famous paintings by Albrecht Altdorfer include Nativity, Penitent St. Jerome, Passion of Christ, and The Large Spruce. Most of Albrecht Altdorfer’s best paintings are available in Munich. Others have been sold to art galleries around the world.

Albrecht Altdorfer used the art on wood painting style. This was the most popular painting style in 16th century Europe, although it was first used in Asia. In these pictures, a medium of drying oil is used as the binder. The paint took longer to dry on these surfaces, and this gave the painters more time to make modifications. Also, paintings made on oil surfaces lasted for much longer. These are some of the reasons why most painters preferred this style of painting.

Albrecht Altdorfer was one of the earliest artists to ever make landscape etchings and woodcuts for their own sake. Most of the woodcuts and etchings are small in size. He was actually a core member of the Little Masters group of artists. One of the most famous prints made by Albrecht Altdorfer is the Triumphs of Maximilian. In the course of his life, he made more than 90 woodcuts, more than 30 etchings, and more than 70 engravings. His works influenced artists like Augustin Hirschvogel to create fine landscape prints.

Albrecht Altdorfer was either born in Regensburg or Altdorf. His father might have been Ulrich Altdorfer, an avid painter and miniaturist. It is possible that Albrecht Altdorfer developed an interest in art from his father. Albrecht’s brother was also an artist who learned his craft from Lucas Cranach the Elder. Very little is known about his mother and his wife. Around 1511, Albrecht Altdorfer travelled to the Alps where he observed the beautiful landscape. This is what prompted him to become a landscape painter. He was influenced by famous artists like Lucas Cranach and Giorgione.

Albrecht Altdorfer lived most of his life in Regensburg and became a citizen in 1505. He is considered the most successful resident of Regensburg. He served as the official architect of the municipal buildings in the city and oversaw the construction of wine storage buildings, slaughterhouses, and several other units. He also served in the inner council and managed the external affairs of the city. At one point, he was appointed mayor of the city but turned down the offer. Albrecht Altdorfer died in 1538.

Albrecht Altdorfer is one of the most important artists of the 16th century. He was the first artist to come up with art that could be considered landscaping in modern times. His most important work was the Battle of Alexander at Isus. It illustrates Alexander’s victory in his war against the Persians. This picture is currently housed in Munich, along with many of the most valuable works of Albrecht Altdorfer. Besides painting, Albrecht was involved in printmaking. More than 90 of his woodworks are still available in museums.