The City of Trento Albrecht Durer Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

The City of Trento by Albrecht Durer is a drawing done in 1495. It is a topographical watercolour landscape painting of the city of Trento. It specifically depicts the Italian riverfront banks of River Adige. Durer’s visit to Italy was the inspiration for the landscape painting.

Durer uses the distinctive style of creating landscapes using watercolours and gouache, a technique which he favoured while producing his landscapes. The painting depicts the castle at Trento with the castle's circular towers and the crenellated walls viewed from a moderately lower point than the castle. The picture is a drawing made with a black ink pen and then filled in with watercolours. The foreground of the painting is a river that curves and disappears out of sight in front of the castle and seems to continue further in the background beyond the castle. On the riverbank, the trees are painted using different shades of green to imply movement as if they are bending in a slight wind. In the background, hills tower over the castle and meet a light-coloured skyline.

The use of soft-toned colours and light depicts a peaceful early morning with little movement on the scene. There is a lone man on a canoe on the river, but it is not detailed enough to warrant much attention. Durer uses wet brush strokes to create graduations of colour, which create a three-dimensional quality to his work. This is seen in the trees that seem to be swaying in the wind and the water, which is flowing in a calm manner. Albrecht was one of the initial artists to create landscapes as independent paintings and not just as backgrounds of other pictures. He used techniques to represent distance by having plenty of sharp detail in the foreground and mountains in the background being fainter and less distinct.

He made watercolour sketches as he travelled over the Italian countryside and was influenced by the Italian Renaissance. The influences are revealed by the use of warm colours and soft transitions of the colour tones. Depth is conveyed through skilful contrast between light and shade. This is seen in the soft disparity between the brown colour of the hills, giving way to a bluish tint, making the hills seem further. The lightening out of the landscape in the background suggests the use of the atmospheric perspective. The Italian artist Giovanni Bellini greatly influenced Durer during his visit. The City of Trento is displayed at the Kunsthalle Bremen, an art museum in Bremen, Germany. It was purchased from Col John Wingfield Malcolm, who purchased it from Miss Constance Goodrich, a well-known collector of modern prints and old master drawings.