Albrecht Durer “Doubting St. Thomas” Wood Engraving
Albrecht Dürer (May 21, 1471 — April 6, 1528) was a German painter, printmaker and theorist from Nuremberg. His still-famous works include the Apocalypse woodcuts, Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513), Saint Jerome in his Study (1514) and Melencolia I (1514), which has been the subject of extensive analysis and interpretation. His watercolors mark him as one of the first European landscape artists, while his ambitious woodcuts revolutionized the potential of that medium. Dürer’s introduction of classical motifs into Northern art, through his knowledge of Italian artists and German humanists, have secured his reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. This is reinforced by his theoretical treatise which involve principles of mathematics, perspective and ideal proportions.
His prints established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Renaissance in Northern Europe ever since.
On his return to Nuremberg in 1495, Dürer opened his own workshop (being married was a requirement for this). Over the next five years his style increasingly integrated Italian influences into underlying Northern forms. Dürer lost both of his parents during the next decade: his father died in 1502 and his mother died in 1513.
His best works in the first years of the workshop were his woodcut prints, mostly religious, but including secular scenes such as The Men’s Bath-house (ca. 1496). These were larger than the great majority of German woodcuts hitherto, and far more complex and balanced in composition.
It is now thought unlikely that Durer cut any of the woodblocks himself; this task would have been left for a specialist craftsman. However, his training in Wolgemut’s studio, which made many carved and painted altarpieces and both designed and cut woodblocks for woodcut, evidently gave him great understanding of what the technique could be made to produce, and how to work with block cutters.
Dürer either drew his design directly onto the woodblock itself, or glued a paper drawing to the block. Either way, his drawings were destroyed during the cutting of the block.
His famous series of sixteen great designs for the Apocalypse are dated 1498. He made the first seven scenes of the Great Passion in the same year, and a little later, a series of eleven on the Holy Family and saints. Around 1503—1505 he produced the first seventeen of a set illustrating the Life of the Virgin, which he did not finish for some years. Neither these, nor the Great Passion, were published as sets until several years later, but prints were sold individually in considerable numbers.
Here is a lovely impression from “The Great Passion” wood engraving on laid paper. Laid down on acid free paper and measuring 3.75 by 5 inches (measured at the borderline around each work).
Most likely a later impression AFTER 1511. Our estimate age late 19th century impression. Other than laid down on a support sheet, this and others all seen to be in good condition.
Art (paintings, prints, frames)