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This atmospheric landscape is by the celebrated German artist, Albrecht Durer (1471-1528). It is a view of the small Bavarian village of Kalchreut, located 15 kilometres (9.32 miles) to the north of Durer's home in Nuremberg.
The artist has used watercolour and its opaque form known as gouache. The painting is on a sheet of paper measuring 31.4 centimetres by 21.6 centimetres (12.6 inches by 8 inches). View of Kalchreut is a remarkable painting as it shows a significant departure in style. Durer's work such as Innsbruck Castle Courtyard is usually highly detailed with precise, accurate lines. View of Kalchreut was painted in 1511 shortly after Durer's return from Venice where he admired the atmospheric landscapes of Giovanni Bellini. In View of Kalchreut, Durer adopts fast, fluid brushstrokes to capture the atmosphere of the small village.
View of Kalchreut instantly illustrates the steep Bavarian hillsides. Durer's viewpoint is above the village. The cluster of rooftops dominates the central foreground of the painting. The grandest house is positioned to the left of the painting. Yet its tall roof has a series of exposed rafters as if unfinished or in need of repair. It is an indication that the little village is far from wealthy. The rooftops draw the attention to toward the centre of the painting where they suddenly disappear from view as they follow the steep descent of the hill. To the lower right of the painting there is a rough pathway that takes a circuitous route past two ancient, gnarled trees. The path leads only to another part of the village, emphasisng its remoteness. The lower half of View of Kalchreut is occupied by the buildings. The upper half consists of layers of dense forest and distant rugged hills.
They further emphasise how the village is enclosed and isolated. View of Kalchreut displays a small range of subtle colours. The rooftops are predominantly beige with only an occasional russet. They contrast sharply with the menacing dark green of the trees. The hills in the distance combine the two colours with highlights of yellow ochre and grey. Durer is regarded as the most influential artist of the Northern Renaissance era. His work has influenced many artists including Giovanni Battista. The View of Kalchreut may have been intended as a sketch for the background detail of another painting. It is now held at the Kunsthalle Art Gallery in Bremen.