The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts

Master Impressions from the UAMA Collections: Albrecht Dürer

Albrecht Dürer, The Holy Trinity, 1511

August 7, 2007 – January 6, 2008

The six prints presented in this exhibition highlight the visionary skill and technical mastery in relief and intaglio printmaking of German artist Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528).

Born in Nuremberg, Dürer trained in metalworking with his father, a goldsmith, before apprenticing to the painter and book illustrator Michael Wolgemut. In 1494, Dürer traveled to Venice, and was thus one of the first northern European artists to experience the Italian Renaissance firsthand; as a result, he soon emerged as the leading figure in the Northern European Renaissance. By the time Dürer visited Italy again in 1505, he had achieved renown as the most celebrated German artist of his time. Dürer’s fame by this point resulted largely from the distribution of his woodcuts and engravings; as his career progressed, he gained additional recognition for his paintings, drawings, and theoretical texts on art, geometry, and human proportion.

The first Dürer print to enter the UAMA collections was Christ on the Mount of Olives, a gift to the Museum from C. Leonard Pfeiffer in 1946. The works on view are almost exclusively religious in nature — expressly, scenes from the life of Christ. Dürer’s prints demonstrate extraordinary skill in the rendering of minute detail, and they reveal inventive iconographic models that would influence artists for generations to come.

In 1528, just before Dürer’s death, the great humanist scholar Desiderius Erasmus praised the artist’s proficiency in printmaking:

“What does [Dürer] not express in black lines? Shade, light, radiance, projections, depressions. . . . He even depicts what cannot be depicted . . . characters and emotions — in fine, the whole mind of man as it shines forth . . . and almost the very voice.”

– Susannah Maurer, Assistant Curator

Master Impressions from the UAMA Collections

This series of small, rotating presentations showcases the exceptional breadth and depth of the UAMA Old Master print collection. These selections offer focused consideration of a particularly significant artist or theme, and elucidate some of the most influential developments in the Western printmaking tradition.

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Master Impressions from the UAMA Collections