Many of us are familiar with Albrecht Dürer’s drawings and engravings and this exhibition, Dürer’s Journeys, at the National Gallery gives us plenty of those. It’s interesting though to see more of his paintings as he wanted to be recognised as a painter as well as an engraver.
It’s the same old story – you can be as amazing as you like in your specialist field, but if you don’t compete in a certain category you won’t be a “star”. Famous in Europe for his etchings he had to prove he could paint too, seen as the ultimate for an artist.
Honestly though, I am far more impressed by Dürer’s drawing and engraving than by his painting. There’s a sensitivity in his use of line and tone that shines out for me.
Just look at the detail in Large Fortune – we were unashamedly gawping.
As Dürer is famous for his acute observation of nature it’s fascinating to see his depiction of a lion taken from descriptions before actually seeing one. Below is one of many versions of St. Jerome …
and then when he does.
His painting is still pretty amazing too where you can see the strength of his mark-making – I love this one of St Jerome.