The Young Durer: Drawing The Figure
17 October 2013 – 12 January 2014
An exhibition of early drawings by the great Albrecht Dürer, the revolutionary German artist who brought us some of the most enduring images of the sixteenth century.
From his grim depiction of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, terrifying in their mechanical determination, to his illustrations of Dante’s inferno, Dürer’s prolific legacy has long influenced artists and even reached iconic status during the rise of German nationalism in the nineteenth century.
This exhibition is devoted to Dürer’s early years, and in particular to the time he took his Wanderjahre, a gap year lasting four years in which he travelled across Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands before moving south to Italy to learn his trade.
Also on show is a collection of rare works by Dürer’s precursors and his contemporaries, revealing the impact these artists had on the young Titan’s career.
There is a pen and brown ink sketch in the Courtauld collection called ‘A Wise Virgin’ made in 1493, which reveals Dürer’s early attempts to navigate foreshortening and anatomy. Her awkwardly twisted torso suggests he was still struggling to understand the movement of the body. It also reveals the young Dürer to be an admirer of the German engraver Martin Schongauer, who had also made prints of the same biblical parable.