Lectures are normally in the ArtsHouse: 10.45 for morning members: 13.30 for afternoon members.

Thursday 18 January 2018
Albrecht Durer: The Italian and Northern Renaissance
Lecturer: Leslie Primo


Model books, copyright law and some of the genius of Leonardo da Vinci were all alluded to in Leslie Primo’s lecture to Stradfas in January when he explored Albrecht Durer, his influence on Renaissance artists and their influence on him.

There are so many iconic works by Durer, who was born in Nuremberg in 1472, but his self portraits are a feature of his life. His first one was painted when he was just 13 and he repeatedly painted himself throughout his career. Each painting can be identified with the”A.D. monogram” which becomes bolder and more obvious as he becomes more confident and famous.

 Some information about Durer has been found in his correspondence with Pirckheimer who he wrote to when he became a journeyman broadening his knowledge and expertise whilst travelling to places such as Colmar and Strasbourg. He travelled as far as Venice and his fame had spread so much that it is reputed even Michelangelo had a print of Durer’s. Schoengower had influenced Durer and, although they never met, his style can be seen in “The Madonna with the Iris” compared to “Virgin in the Rose Garden” where Schoengower’s love of the natural world is reproduced by Durer in terms of flora and fauna. Also, the Madonna’ dress is similar in arrangement and colour. Other similarities between Durer and his contemporaries can be seen in animal representations such as dogs as in Jan Gossaert who stole Durer’s painting of a dog and incorporated it into his picture called “Adoration of the Magi”. Similarly, Durer paid homage to Schoengower by incorporating Schoengower’s dog in his painting!

Artists used model books which were representations of animals, drawn on vellum as a concertina and folded into a box which was carried around their necks. Whenever they were commissioned for a work of art they could incorporate any animal even though they had never come across one! Inevitably this meant that there are some strange looking animals.

However, so great was Durer’s expertise that his representation of a rhinoceros, which he had never seen, is remarkable. His photographic memory can be seen in his lifelike drawing of The Hare.
He admired painters such as Bellini and Leonardo da Vinci. As he became more successful in Venice he made enemies and many copied him. An engraver called Raimondi bought up Durer’s prints with the purpose of copying them but the Venetian state forbade him from using the “A.D” monogram and this has been seen as an early recognition of copyright law.