The Life and Work of Albrecht Dürer

The Northern Renaissance

The Northern Renaissance is often a loosely applied term simply to refer to the artistic awakening of countries outside of Italy particularly those in Northern Europe. Italian influence was most likely spread via books, universities, and through trade at cities such as Antwerp.


Albrecht Dürer was born in Nuremberg, Germany in May of 1471. His father Albrecht Durer SR. was a goldsmith who also helped his son with art. In 1486 Dürer began an apprenticeship as a painter, and by 1493 he was making woodcuts for the Nuremberg Chronicle.

Dürer married Agnes Frey in 1494, and later made his first journey to Italy where he experimented with watercolors one of the many techniques he would become known for.

In 1521 Dürer and his wife took a trip to the Netherlands where he created some of his most well known works such a Melancholia.

Dürer died in Germany in 1528.


Albrecht Dürer is known for his woodcuts and printmaking, but he also was a very accomplished painter particularly with watercolors. Some of Dürer’s most famous works include Melancholia, Adam and Eve, The Seven Sorrows of the VirginandChrist Among the Doctors.

Lamentation for Christ
Lamentation for Christ
Woodcut of Durer's Coat of Arms
Woodcut of Durer's Coat of Arms
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve
Martin Luther writings, c. 1581
Martin Luther writings, c. 1581

Lutheran Sympathies

Albrecht Dürer's family was of Hungarian origins and he was a Catholic, he did however have sympathies towards the cause of Martin Luther and the reformation.  In 1517 Dürer listened to a sermon delivered by Martin Luther's mentor Johann von Staupitz at the Augustinian Church in Nuremberg.

Dürer desired to do a print of Martin Luther but was never able to do so, he did however openly admire Martin Luther and despite never renouncing his Catholic faith he did pray for Martin Luther after the reformer's disappearance following the diet of worms.

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Awesome hub.

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