Self-Portrait at Thirteen 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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Durer produced many self-portraits throughout his career, some as paintings and some as drawings.

These offer an insight into how he viewed himself and also covers his artistic development, with this series spanning right across his career. This early piece is from when he was just thirteen years of age and still very much learning his craft. The young artist displays already substantial skills in drapery and facial portraiture, highly impressive for someone who had only just become a teenager. Clearly natural talent was behind a lot of this, with training and experience adding to his career as he went on.

Perhaps one sign of this being from his younger years is that the finish is particularly subtle, there is none of the white heightening that appeared later or shadows falling across the scene. This means it is somewhat flatter, but still technically of a high standard. It is only right that at this stage of his career he was concentrating on simpler forms of line, adding complexity later.

Historians will also be able to estimate the status of his upbringing by examining the clothing that he wears in these early self-portraits. The artist also left a few notes in the top right corner alongside his signature which may provide additional information, once translated.