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Albrecht Dürer (German 1471-1528)
As a young boy, Durer started to learn the goldsmith's craft in his father workshop, however he was more inclined towards painting. Seeing his talent, his father yielded to his son's wish and the young Albrecht became an apprentice of the painter Michael Wolgemut. After three years of learning, in 1490 he left for his Wanderjahre.
In 1494, Albrecht Dürer returned to Nuremberg, where he married Agnes Frey. In the same year, Dürer was accepted as a member of the painters’ guild of Nuremberg, and in autumn he left for Venice alone. He returned from Italy in the spring of 1495. Between 1496 and 1498, he created the fifteen large woodcuts of the Apocalypse.
Dürer's father died in 1502, and Durer recorded his last moments, noting that his father died like a Christian, after receiving the Holy Sacrament.
In the second half of 1505, Dürer set out for his second journey to Venice. He could extend his circle of friends, and make himself known beyond the limited society of Nuremberg. Indeed, in Venice for the first time, he was appreciated at his true value, and the society folk of Venice and artists alike were eager to meet him.
The Venetian Senate offered him a pension of two hundred ducats if he would stay in Venice; however, the artist returned to Nuremberg in 1507.
Albrecht Dürer's biography is hard to trace between 1507-1520, as he did not leave an account regarding his private life in these years. However, the high number of works belonging to this period indicates intense, hard work. It appears that between 1512 and 1516, Durer's activity as a painter ceased for a time, devoting himself to engravings and woodcuts.
In 1514 Dürer experienced the great sorrow of losing his mother, who died May 17th, after a long and painful illness.
On July 12th, 1520, Dürer set for Netherlands, accompanied by his wife and a maid. He went to Cologne and then to Antwerp, visiting Aix-la-Chapelle, Ghent and Bruges. While in Antwerp, he witnessed the coronation of Emperor of Charles V. During this journey, he made sketches of people, cities, buildings and animals. In the following summer the painter returned to Nuremberg.
In 1525, he published an important scientific work, "The Teaching of Measurements with Rule and Compass." In 1526, Dürer created his last great painting, "Four Apostles," his gift to the City of Nuremberg's Council. In 1527, he published the "Art of Fortification." Another large work, the four-volume "Human Proportions," was in preparation to be printed when the artist died suddenly on April 6th, 1528.
Albrecht Dürer was mourned by all the great minds of the time; his death was regarded as a huge loss, not only for Germany, but for all Europe and mankind.