December 22, 2017
Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), The Annunciation, c.1504, woodcut, 11 5/8 x 8 3/16 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchase/gift of the Mahonri M. Young Estate, 1959.
The subject of the angel Gabriel appearing to the Virgin Mary was commonly depicted in art of the 13th-15th centuries. Unlike many artists of the northern regions, the German Albrecht Dürer traveled to Italy multiple times throughout his career and was heavily influenced by many Italian artistic innovations. The Italians were particularly adept at making space appear to realistically recede from the foreground to the background. The use of linear perspective and classical architectural motifs such as rounded arches and roundels were hallmarks of the Italian style that Dürer brought to the North.
During the Renaissance the status of artists was elevated from skilled craftsmen to intellectual scholars. Consequently, individual artists received more recognition and their unique styles were celebrated. The “AD” monogram found at the bottom of many of Dürer’s works identified the artist and heralded his accomplishments.