Albrecht Dürer Picture Study Aid and Art Prints

Albrecht Durer Picture Study Aid and Art Prints -

To read more about Charlotte Mason picture study and to see the other Picture Study Aids I offer, click here.

As I grew older, I realized that it was much better to insist on the genuine forms of nature, for simplicity is the greatest adornment of art.

Albrecht Dürer

German artist, Albrecht Dürer is an excellent subject for art appreciation and your picture study time! His works of art include simple drawings and rich paintings, as well as master engravings and detailed woodcuts. He explored the world of science and studied biology, including human proportions, while also adding to his oeuvre profoundly beautiful and contemplative religious paintings, and becoming the artist behind the earliest independent self-portraits. In addition to these accomplishments, he successfully blended the separate aesthetics of the Italian and Northern Renaissances to create a form of art unique to northern Europe, an area his contemporaries thought destitute of any great artists.

Born on May 21, 1471, in Nuremberg, this German painter was the third child in a family that would eventually include eighteen children, though most died in infancy. His father, known as Albrecht the Elder, was a  well-respected goldsmith who had been trained in the Low Countries (modern-day Netherlands), and he and his son remained close throughout his life.

Dürer’s early years were spent as an apprentice to his father with the assumption that he would one day follow in his footsteps. Though he did not end up becoming a goldsmith, the skills he learned while serving in this role were instrumental in the creation of the art for which he is arguably most well-known: engraving.

In 1490, after completing a second apprenticeship with local artist Michael Wolgemut, Dürer traveled throughout Germany and northern Austria. He returned home to marry Agnes Frey in 1494, then took another trip further south to northern Italy for the first time. This trip, coupled with a second visit in 1505, exposed him to the innovative thinking of the Italian Renaissance, including the work of Leonardo da Vinci and Giovanni Bellini, and these new ideas profoundly impacted how the young artist viewed art.

Though he occasionally traveled in later years, he spent the majority of his adulthood in Nuremberg, building his reputation internationally as a highly-skilled, famous artist. He was also a lifelong friend of the humanist writer Willibald Perckheimer, who informed much of Dürer’s knowledge of classical subjects and often gave him inspiration for his paintings and prints. His popularity reached such heights during and immediately after his lifetime that many imitators and collectors attempted to pass off other art as his, even going so far as to include his iconic “AD” monogram on these pieces.

During a trip to the Netherlands in 1520, Durer went on a short venture to study the remains of a whale at a mosquito-infested beach. It is thought that he contracted malaria during this trip, which affected his health for the rest of his life. He died on April 6, 1528, bequeathing the people of northern Europe a firm footing in the world of fine arts and art history.

Albrecht Dürer Picture Study Aid and Art Prints

I’m happy to announce that I have a new Picture Study Aid discussing the art of Albrecht Dürer, along with the accompanying fine art prints, now available! Included in this 28-page Picture Study Aid is a summary of the life and artistic inspirations of German, Northern Renaissance printmaker and painter Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), key topics for seven of his works (see below), printable versions of the pieces covered in the PDF version, and a brief discussion about Charlotte Mason’s ideas and methods for implementing picture study at different ages.

The pieces discussed are:

  • The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1498 – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
  • Self Portrait (1498 – Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid)
  • Young Hare (1502 – Albertina, Vienna, Austria)
  • Praying Hands (ca. 1508 – Albertina, Vienna, Austria)
  • Melencolia I (1514 – Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota)
  • Saint Jerome in His Study (1514 – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
  • Portrait of Hieronymus Holzschuher (1526 – Gemäldegalerie, Berlin)

You can also find books for further reading about Albrecht Durer in the Living Art Book Archive.

I include a brief overview of Charlotte Mason picture study at the beginning of the file; however, I have also written posts here on the blog about why it is important and how we do it in our home and homeschool co-op.

You can get your copy at the link at the end of the post!

Albrecht Durer Picture Study Aid and Art Prints -


This guide is by no means an exhaustive analysis or study of each piece, which is intentional. I tried to keep it all very simple in the spirit of there being:

…no talk about schools of painting, little about style; consideration of these matters comes in later life, the first and most important thing is to know the pictures themselves. As in a worthy book we leave the author to tell his own tale, so do we trust a picture to tell its tale through the medium the artist gave it. In the region of art as else-where we shut out the middleman.


Instead, this Picture Study Aid is meant to offer basic information about the artists as well as ready answers should your student ask about a particular aspect of a piece and the explanation isn’t readily evident. Ms. Mason emphasized not focusing on strict academic discourse when doing picture study but rather simply exposing students to the art itself:

His education should furnish him with whole galleries of mental pictures, pictures by great artists old and new;––…––in fact, every child should leave school with at least a couple of hundred pictures by great masters hanging permanently in the halls of his imagination, to say nothing of great buildings, sculpture, beauty of form and colour in things he sees. Perhaps we might secure at least a hundred lovely landscapes too,––sunsets, cloudscapes, starlight nights. At any rate he should go forth well furnished because imagination has the property of magical expansion, the more it holds the more it will hold.

Albrecht Durer Picture Study Aid and Art Prints -
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