A Girl from Cologne and Agnes Durer 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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This drawing by Albrecht Durer was created using silverpoint in 1520 and features his wife alongside a young girl in a charming double portrait.

Despite the girl being from Cologne, it is believed that this drawing was actually completed during a visit to the Netherlands. At this time Dutch art was particularly strong and Durer wanted to learn aspected of their style to potentially supplement his own work. He held several sketchbooks during this trip and this drawing was from those, after they were later separated into individual pieces of paper.

The original German title of this artwork was Mädchen in kölnischer Tracht und Porträt der Agnes Dürer, with Agnes being the artist's wife. It seems a strange decision to depict her alongside a model who is so younger, perhaps his intention was to demonstrate the impact of time on facial features or perhaps suggest that his wife was particularly pretty in her younger days. Many artists have used their work to depict the impact of time, with perhaps Gustav Klimt's Three Ages of Woman being amongst the most memorable.

Beyond the facial features, Durer was also highly skilled in depicting drapery and this scene features two generations of fashion from this period. Agnes, as the older woman, sports a more conservative attire that would have been in keeping with the styles of the time.