Courtyard of the Former Castle in Innsbruck without Clouds Albrecht Durer 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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Albrecht Durer produced a series of cityscape watercolours in 1494

You will find a great similarity between this and another work from that year, namely Courtyard of the Former Castle in Innsbruck with Clouds. The two differ in angle of the view and also in the style of the sky. There are elements of the perspective in both which does not quite feel right and this perhaps explains why this genre was not considered one of Durer's best.

There can be no doubt that his understanding of perspective was far poorer that that of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael or Michelangelo, but there is still much to enjoy from his various scenes of Innsbruck. Indeed, Durer must be respected for tackling such a diverse range of genres during his career.

There is a lighter finish to this painting due to the subtler sky. He chose here to sit at the other end of the courtyard besides the gate tower balcony, and look back across. It has been helpful to architectural historians to see both views of this beautiful gothic building and although his technical skills here were not perfect, there is still much they can learn about buildings of this period.

The charming elements to be seen in this watercolour include the sharp spires and small windows which are typical of the gothic style. The colours are also faithfully represented by an artist who was likely creating these artworks purely for his own enjoyment. Any commissioned pieces would have been more finely tuned and probably completed in oils instead.

Durer will always be most famous for his woodcuts, engravings, oil paintings plus some of his animal watercolours but there is still a significance here to be appreciated. Perhaps with more attention to this genre he may have impressed to an equal level.