A goldsmith’s son, Albrecht Dürer trained in his father’s profession but went against his wishes and turned to artworks instead. He executed paintings (including a number of self-portraits, a genre which he pioneered), but his main body of work was his engravings and woodcut prints. He made two major trips to Italy and wound up filtering Italian Renaissance solidity and draftsmanship through his German sensibility, formed by a study of his native land’s philosophers and theologians. The invention of the printing press allowed him to disseminate his works throughout Europe.
Arlington Museum of Art’s new show Albrecht Dürer: Master Prints features more than 30 of the Renaissance master’s prints, including a full set of his Engraved Passion, depicting the final torment of Jesus, an appropriate theme for the Christmas season. The exquisite detail of Dürer’s works on paper will be complemented by prints from other masters of the time, including Albrecht Altdorfer and Martin Schongauer, who briefly taught Dürer the trade before his own death. If the holiday leaves you in a German mood, this blockbuster art show will be just the place to indulge it.
Albrecht Dürer: Master Prints runs Dec 6-Feb 23 at Arlington Museum of Art, 201 W Main St, Arlington. Admission is $5-8.