Albrecht Dürer, subject of a major exhibition at the National Gallery this fall
Dürer’s Travels – The Travels of a Renaissance Artist is a major new exhibition announced for the National Gallery in March 2021. It will be the first major UK exhibition of the artist’s works in such a wide range of media for nearly of twenty years shows Dürer’s career as a painter, draftsman and printmaker. Most of the works on display are being shown in Great Britain for the first time.
It is also the first exhibition dedicated to the artist through his travels bringing the visitor closer to man himself, to the people and places he has visited, through more than a hundred paintings, drawings, prints and documents on loan from museums and private collections around the world.
The exhibition Credit Suisse: Les voyages de Dürer – Voyages of a Renaissance artist (6 March – 13 June 2021), for the first time, chronicles the travels of the artist born in Nuremberg in the Alps and in Italy to the mid 1490s; in Venice in 1505-1577; and to the Netherlands in 1520-1520, trips that put him in contact with artists and fuel his curiosity and creativity while increasing his fame and influence.
Major loans include Christ among the Artist’s Doctors, 1506, (Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid), Saint Jerome, 1521, (Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon), Portrait of a Man, 1521 (Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid) and a double-sided painting of a Madonna and Child, circa 1496-1494 (National Gallery of Art, Washington), which will be exhibited for the first time in the United Kingdom.
Other lenders of the exhibition include the Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum, Aachen; Albertina Museum, Vienna; the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; Louvre Museum, Paris; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; The British Museum; the British Library; the Royal Collection; the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge; the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford; and, in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Morgan Library & Museum.
In the first room of the exhibition, visitors can find out how Dürer’s career progressed in the years following his return to Nuremberg after traveling to the Alps and Italy in the mid-1490s. His Saint Jerome, circa 1496, in the collection of the National Gallery, with its detailed landscape and extraordinary reverse, will show the enormous development of Dürer’s work at the time of this first Italian visit.
The second room includes some of Dürer’s early studies of human proportions from his visit to Venice from 1505 to 1507, in which he recorded his impressions in letters to his friend Willibald Pirkheimer. One of these letters will be presented in this room with three portraits of Dürer and the large painting Christ among the Doctors, 1506, (Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.) Two studies of this painting are included among a group of drawings breathtaking.
In Room Three, which includes many of the artist’s best-known prints, we see Dürer returning to Nuremberg, where he was employed by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, before embarking on a journey north of Aix. -the Chapel where the coronation of the new emperor Charles V was to take place. He also visited the Netherlands, which Charles’s aunt, Margaret of Austria, ruled. The piece contains the only surviving page of a diary Dürer left from his travels in 1520-151, in which he was accompanied by his wife Agnes and the maid Susanna. He records his itinerary, his expenses and his encounters with people.
Portraits, including chalk, charcoal and silver point, are displayed in the fourth room of the exhibition as Dürer’s observations as he drew people, animals and cityscapes are explored. in the fifth, which includes sheets from his silver point sketchbook, with some of Dürer’s most notable works. and delicate designs.
The artists encountered by Dürer during his travels in the Netherlands are the theme of room six which includes the dramatic painting Landscape with the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, circa 1520, (Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam, on loan from the Agency Dutch Cultural Heritage) by Joachim Patinir, “the skilled landscape painter”, owned by Dürer. This room also includes the drawing of Saint Christopher, 1520 (British Museum) that Dürer made for Patinir.
The last room is dedicated to the Antwerp period, when Dürer befriended the Portuguese merchant agent Rodrigo de Almada, who sent him many gifts including feathers, coral and two green parrots. Dürer painted a striking and innovative image of Saint Jerome, 1521, (Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon), for Almada – a radical departure from a subject that Dürer had often depicted in both painting and print . Painting, which itself may have been influenced by Dutch art, left a deep mark on artists in the Netherlands.
During and immediately after his trip to the Netherlands, Dürer experimented with new approaches to the story of the Crucifixion, perhaps with engravings in mind. His portrayal of religious imagery at this time was strongly influenced by his interest in Martin Luther’s emphasis on the essentials of the Christian faith. During his stay in the Netherlands, Dürer drew the portrait of the great humanist Erasmus, but it was not until 1526 that he produced his engraving of Erasmus, 1526, (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) which was to be his last.
Dr Susan Foister, Deputy Director of the National Gallery in London and Curator of the Credit Suisse exhibition: Dürer’s Travels – Travels of a Renaissance Artist, says: “Dürer’s art knew no borders, neither territorial nor intellectual. During his travels he came into contact with artists, people and places in a way that fueled his curiosity and creativity, and increased his fame and influence. His reputation as the most innovative engraver of his time preceded him. His constant intellectual curiosity and in search opened up fruitful exchanges with artists from northern and southern Europe. Unique for his time, Dürer recorded aspects of his life not only in his art, but also through letters and journals. His voice echoes through five centuries to speak to us today.
Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery in London, says: “Albrecht Dürer’s astonishing artistic achievement, his intellectual curiosity, his inexhaustible versatility and his engagement with the great events of his time, make him deeply fascinating to the five of us. centuries later. The first major exhibition organized on the artist in Great Britain in 20 years, The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Dürer’s Journeys – Travels of a Renaissance Artist brings together a superb selection of paintings, drawings and prints, most of them exhibited here for the first time.’
Dürer’s Journeys – Travels of a Renaissance Artist – NEW DATES: November 20, 2021 – February 27, 2022 Sainsbury Wing National Gallery