Sunday, December 2, 2012

Durer and Beyond, Central European Drawings, 1400-1700

In August while at the Metropolitan Museum of Art I saw two amazing drawings exhibitions.  One, which I blogged about last week, featured the plant drawings of minimalist Ellsworth Kelly.  These drawings were so beautiful and elegant for their simple use of line and negative and positive shape.

The “Durer and Beyond” exhibition featured many drawings also created with line.  Albrecht Durer’s energetic ink lines with layers of hatching and crosshatching were a great contrast to the Kelly drawings!

Albrecht Durer, (1471-1528) of Nuremberg, Germany, is regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance.  While still in his twenties Durer became famous for his woodcuts, such as “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”.  He went on to create many masterful paintings, but his drawings are among his most famous works.  Amid his most revered pieces are “The Great Piece of Tuft”, “The Praying Hands” and “Wing of a Roller”  Many of these drawings are in the Albertina in Vienna.

          Albrecht Durer, pen and ink on prepared paper, "The Praying Hands", 1508

                      Albrecht Durer, watercolor and gouache, "Wing of a Roller", 1518

Throughout his life Durer was known for his detailed and complex self-portraits.  The exhibition drawing below “Self Portrait and Studies of the Artist’s Left Hand and a Pillow” features such a self-portrait with it’s penetrating gaze.  On the verso of this drawing is a series of whimsical drawings of a pillow.  The series almost reads like an animation!

Albrecht Durer, pen and ink, "Self Portrait and Studies of the Artist's Left Hand and a Pillow", 1493

                              Albrecht Durer, pen and ink, "Six Studies of a Pillow", 1493

The exhibition featured 100 drawings created between 1400-1700 by artists from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic among others.  A charming study of a hedgehog by Hans Hoffman (1530-1592) created with watercolor and gouache, highlights this artist’s love of observing nature down to the smallest detail!

                          Hans Hoffman, watercolor and gouache drawing of a hedgehog, 1584

If you enjoy looking at master drawings there are two current exhibitions that you might want to visit.  "The Mantegna to Matisse” exhibition at the Frick Collection, will be up through January 27, 2013 and the “Durer to de Kooning: 100 Master Drawings from Munich” is on view through January 6, 2013 at the Morgan Library.  I plan on blogging about both these exhibitions.

No comments:

Post a Comment