Albrecht Durer Quotes 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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Durer's career was documented in huge detail compared to most in the Renaissance era

Albrecht was a confident individual who believed entirely in what he was doing and that he held the skills required to do it at a very high standard. He also was firmly religious and often referred to the impact of religion in his work as a key influence.

Find his attributed quotes below:

For God often gives the ability to learn and the wit to make something good to [an artist] who has no equal in his day, and whose like has not been seen for many a year previously, nor shall soon come again.

Whilst discussing Hieronymus Bosch, 1528

An artist of understanding and experience can show more of his great power and art in small things roughly and rudely done, than many another in a great work. A man may often draw something with his pen on a half sheet of paper in one day... and it shall be fuller of art and better than another's great work whereon he hath spent a whole year's careful labor.

And since geometry is the right foundation of all painting, I have decided to teach its rudiments and principles to all youngsters eager for art.

Art is embedded in nature and they who can extract it, have it.

As I grew older, I realized that it was much better to insist on the genuine forms of nature, for simplicity is the greatest adornment of art.

But I shall let the little I have learnt go forth into the day in order that someone better than I may guess the truth, and in his work may prove and rebuke my error. At this I shall rejoice that I was yet a means whereby this truth has come to light.

Geometry is the foundation of all painting.

Help us to recognize your voice, help us not to be allured by the madness of the world, so that we may never fall away from you, O Lord Jesus Christ.

He that would be a painter must have a natural turn thereto. Love and delight therein are better of the Art of Painting than compulsion.

If a man devotes himself to art, much evil is avoided that happens otherwise if one is idle.

I hold that the perfection of form and beauty is contained in the sum of all men.

Love and delight are better teachers than compulsion.

My father suffered much and toiled painfully all his life, for he had no resources other than the proceeds of his trade from which to support himself and his wife and family.

Nature holds the beautiful, for the artist who has the insight to extract it. Thus, beauty lies even in humble, perhaps ugly things, and the ideal, which bypasses or improves on nature, may not be truly beautiful in the end.

No single man can be taken as a model for a perfect figure, for no man lives on earth who is endowed with the whole of beauty.

On the first of May in the year 1513 AD, the powerful King of Portugal, Manuel of Lisbon, brought such a living animal from India, called the rhinoceros. This is an accurate representation. It is the color of a speckled tortoise, and is almost entirely covered with thick scales. It is the size of an elephant but has shorter legs and is almost invulnerable. It has a strong pointed horn on the tip of its nose, which it sharpens on stones. It is the mortal enemy of the elephant. The elephant is afraid of the rhinoceros, for, when they meet, the rhinoceros charges with its head between its front legs and rips open the elephant’s stomach, against which the elephant is unable to defend itself. The rhinoceros is so well-armed that the elephant cannot harm it. It is said that the rhinoceros is fast, impetuous and cunning.

Sane judgment abhors nothing so much as a picture perpetrated with no technical knowledge, although with plenty of care and diligence.

Sight is the noblest sense of man.

Simplicity is the greatest adornment of art.

Some think that they know everybody, but they really don't know themselves.

The artist is chosen by God to fulfill his commands and must never be overwhelmed by public opinion.

The new art must be based upon science - in particular, upon mathematics, as the most exact, logical, and graphically constructive of the sciences.

There is no man on earth who can give a final judgment on what the most beautiful shape may be. Only God knows.

What beauty is, I know not, though it adheres to many things.

Why has God given me such magnificent talent? It is a curse as well as a great blessing.

Quotes about Albrecht Durer by Art Historians and Fellow Artists

When one observes a work on paper such as the Praying Hands: Is this miracle of analytical observation and incomparably precise reproduction not far too ambitious for the purpose for which it is assumed to have been created—namely, to serve as a preliminary study? And to what purpose associated with typical workshop practices should one attribute a work like the famous Young Hare? While Dürer was not the first artist north of the Alps to produce such studies, his creations indeed do go far beyond the tradition of other such exemplary 15th century works on paper in terms of their consummate technical, compositional, and artistic quality, a quality that frequently even extends to his carefully placed monogram signature. As "master drawings", Dürer's works on paper stand at the dawn of drawing’s autonomy as an art form. And it was with this intent, though still within the protected sphere of the workshop, that he created these exquisitely precious works that would pave the way for the esteem that the medium of drawing was to be accorded in the future.

Press Release from Albertina Museum, Vienna for the 2019-2020 Albrecht Durer Exhibition

The work represents a miracle of observation and it is too ambitious to be merely a preliminary study... ...Dürer made it as a master drawing to show to visitors in his workshop, as an example of his God-given talent.

Christof Metzger, discussing Praying Hands