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The Young Durer (Hardcover)
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The Young Durer (Hardcover)
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Accompanying a landmark exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery, this
book examines the remarkable drawings made by Du rer as a young man
from 1490 to 1495, especially those made during his journeyman
years, or Wanderjahre - considered the final part of a craftsman's
training - and a second shorter trip which immediately followed and
seems to have brought the artist to Italy. These trips form the
framework for the book, which focuses on the young artist's figure
studies and has at its heart the Courtauld Gallery's double-sided
drawing of a Wise Virgin and Two studies of the artist's left leg.
This superbly ambitious work serves as a springboard to explore in
depth the role of drawing at this stage of Du rer's career. It
allows us to address a series of crucial questions: how Du rer
formed `his hand', how he responded to artistic challenges
presented by contemporary and earlier art (both on a stylistic and
an iconographic level), how his pursuit of professional success was
linked with the quest for an individual artistic identity, and how
the strategy of recording his own creative achievements in drawings
dovetails with his claim for a new status for the artist in his
city. The scholarly and beautifully illustrated catalogue is
introduced with five essays by distinguished experts. Stephanie
Buck examines the documentary evidence and attempts to reconstruct
the motivations and activities of Du rer's travels as a young man.
David Freedberg discusses Du rer's obsessive observation and
recording of himself in portraits and in studies of his limbs.
These represent the first critical steps in the artist's developing
understanding of the body, and of the ways in which its movements
could not just show emotion, but rouse the equivalent sense of
torsion, tension and pathos in the bodies and minds of his viewers.
Stephanie Porras looks at Du rer's copies of drawings or prints
circulating in Nuremberg workshops or acquired during the
Wanderjahre, which were used as a means of seeking inspiration, of
challenging himself to draw more sophisticated figures and dynamic
compositions. Michael Roth asks the question of how the three
strands of the art of the line- drawing, engraving and woodcut -
structurally correspond in Du rer's work and, consequently, how
drawing merges with certain manual aspects of printing. A final
essay presents new technical research on Du rer's early drawings
undertaken collaboratively in a number of leading collections of
the artist's work, and aims to enrich our understanding of the
young Du rer's approach to the medium of drawing.
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