Portrait of Albrecht Durer the Elder 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, the painter, was a man who loved his father. It was not only affection but also respect. This respect and affection were evident when he decided to paint a portrait of his father in the year 1490.

The Portrait of Albrecht Durer the Elder is one of the earliest surviving oil paintings of Albrecht, the painter. The portrait is of his father, who was a goldsmith. He painted it before he left Nuremberg for his journeyman tours in April. Albrecht the elder was about 62 or 63 years old when this portrait was being drawn; it is believed that Albrecht the elder was born in the year 1927. The portrait does not have much detail in it; it is simply a picture of Albrecht the Elder depicted from the waist up. He is seen wearing a black hat with minor brown spots and a brown jacket lined with black fur. He is also holding a rosary, perhaps to illustrate that he was a religious man.

Much later, after drawing the portrait, Albrecht stated that his father was an honorable man who lived a Christian life. He also added that his father had a patient spirit, slow to anger and peaceable to all. Lastly, he stated that he was thankful to God for having such a father. Through the years, this painting suffered some damage and was in poor condition. It had paint loss in the background and some areas around the cloak. Therefore, it was cleaned and rehabilitated in 1955, after which it was placed in the National Gallery of London. It has since remained there, and art lovers may have a glimpse. The general theme brought out by this painting is gratitude. Albrecht Durer, the painter, exhumed a great deal of gratitude to God for giving him such a father. He also goes ahead to describe the kind of man his father was.

Albrecht was a pioneer in his field. He was famous for many paintings and painting styles, such as woodblock printing. One such series brought about by the woodblock printing style is the Apocalypse series (1498). As a result, other artists like Otto Dix came out and painted similar drawings like the Apocalypse series. Otto Dix painted a series known as Der Krieg, which was published in 1924. It was right after the conclusion of the First World War. Another artist who Albrecht largely inspired is Edvard Munch. He painted a drawing called The Scream, which is similar to some of Albrecht Durer's more expressive paintings.