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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

“Self-Portrait with Gloves” by Albrecht Dürer

"Self-portrait at 26" by Albrecht Dürer

“Self-portrait at 26 by Albrecht Dürer

“Self-portrait at 26” by Albrecht Dürer is the second of the German Renaissance artist, three self-portraits. In this self-portrait, Dürer proudly depicts himself as he believed best reflected an artist of his ability. Painted after his first trip to Italy, he is drawn with a proud bearing and the assured self-confidence of a young artist at the height of his ability. Dürer’s image dominates the space as he rests his hands in beautiful luxurious silk gloves, and he wears the high fashion of the Italian and German Renaissance. Dürer presents himself with a seductive look, wearing a draped hat with a tassel over his long, curled blond hair locks. He looks out at the viewer with a cool, ironic stare. His third self-portrait, “Self-Portrait at Twenty-Eight”, three years later has a very different mood.

In this self-portrait, Dürer shows himself before an open window with a view of a landscape with a lake before distant snow-capped mountains. The scenery is representing either the memory of his recent travels abroad or his inner mental state. Dürer is dressed in flamboyant, extravagant clothes showing the influence of Italian fashion. His low-necked shirt is of fine linen, gathered and trimmed with a band of gold braid embroidery, and worn under an open-fronted doublet and a cloak tied over one shoulder.

This self-portrait marks a farewell to his youth and commemorates the acclaim he received during his visit to Italy. He has established himself as a significant artist, and in this portrait, he was seeking to reinforce this status. Soon after his return to Nuremberg he was widely hailed and given a social status equivalent to a wealthy merchant. However, in the following year, in which he published of his edition of the “Apocalypse”, his personal fears became supplanted by more metaphysical worries.

Albrecht Dürer

Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528) was born in Nuremberg, and his vast body of work includes engravings, prints, altarpieces, portraits and watercolours and academic books. Dürer established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties due to his high-quality woodcut prints. He cultivated communications with the major Italian artists of his time, and from 1512 he was patronised by emperor Maximilian I.

Dürer’s introduced classical motifs into Northern art, and through his association with Italian artists and German humanists, he became one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. His authority was supported by his theoretical treatises, which covered mathematics, perspective, and proportions. Both the Lutheran and Episcopal Churches also commemorate Dürer.

Reflections

  • What do you think of this image?
  • Was that the popular hairstyle of the time?
  • How is Durer presenting himself in this self-portrait?

Self-Portrait with Gloves

  • Title:               Self-Portrait with Gloves or Self-portrait at 26
  • Artist:             Albrecht Dürer
  • Year:               1498
  • Medium:         Oil on panel
  • Dimensions:    Height: 52 cm (20.4 ″); Width: 41 cm (16.1 ″)
  • Museum:         Prado Museum

Albrecht Durer

Explore the Prado Museum

Albrecht Dürer Quotes

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“Why has God given me such magnificent talent? It is a curse as well as a great blessing.”

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“As I grew older, I realized that it was much better to insist on the genuine forms of nature, for simplicity is the greatest adornment of art.”

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“Simplicity is the greatest adornment of art.”

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“I hold that the perfection of form and beauty is contained in the sum of all men.”

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“What beauty is, I know not, though it adheres to many things.”

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“Love and delight are better teachers than compulsion.”

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“If a man devotes himself to art, much evil is avoided that happens otherwise if one is idle.”

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“Help us to recognize your voice, help us not to be allured by the madness of the world, so that we may never fall away from you, O Lord Jesus Christ.”

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“And since geometry is the right foundation of all painting, I have decided to teach its rudiments and principles to all youngsters eager for art.”

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“Simplicity is the greatest adornment of art.”

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“Sane judgment abhors nothing so much as a picture perpetrated with no technical knowledge, although with plenty of care and diligence.”

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“The artist is chosen by God to fulfil his commands and must never be overwhelmed by public opinion.”

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“No single man can be taken as a model for a perfect figure, for no man lives on earth who is endowed with the whole of beauty.”

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“If a man devotes himself to art,
much evil is avoided that happens otherwise if one is idle.”
– Albrecht Dürer

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Photo Credit: 1) Albrecht Dürer [Public domain]

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