May 21, 2017
Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), The Prodigal Son Amid the Swine, c.1496, engraving, 9 7/16 x 7 7/16 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchase/gift of the Mahonri M. Young Estate, 1959.
German artist Albrecht Dürer was born on this day in 1471. One of the greatest artists of the Renaissance, Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) refined the woodcut medium. The son of a goldsmith, Dürer mastered traditional techniques to produce innovative compositions that reflect the era of Reformation and redefined the art of northern Europe. Influenced by the developments of the Italian Renaissance, Dürer’s prints reflect his study of perspective and anatomy. He merged this realism with expressive gestures, contemporary clothing, and a convincing cast of characters to make his woodcuts engaging and immensely popular.
Many of Dürer’s prints were religious, reflecting the demand for devotional images. After Martin Luther’s transformative actions of 1517, Dürer embraced Protestant ideas, and his subsequent artworks manifest Lutheran perspectives of religious themes.
Prints by Dürer are currently on display at the BYU Museum of Art in the exhibition To Magnify the Lord: Six Centuries of Art and Devotion.