Albrecht Dürer Picture Study Aid and Art Prints

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​Albrecht Dürer Picture Study Aid

Included in this 28-page Albrecht Dürer Picture Study Aid (download a sample Picture Study Aid here!) is the following:

  • a summary of the life of the Northern Renaissance, German painter and printmaker Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528).
  • a synopsis of seven of his works (see right).
  • resources for additional reading can be found in the Living Art Book Archive.
  • printable versions of the pieces covered in the PDF version.
  • a brief discussion about Charlotte Mason’s ideas and methods for implementing picture study at different ages is also included.
  • the printed book is saddle-stitched with high-quality, 100-lb., smooth paper and full color.

There is also an option to order separate, professional art prints for each piece for use during your picture study time in the drop-down menu below as well. These are printed on durable cardstock with a smooth finish and display beautifully. The prints do not include the Picture Study Aid digital PDF download – this is a separate purchase.

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)

*AmblesideOnline users, please note that these are not all the same pieces as those selected for the AmblesideOnline artist rotation.

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 Durer is an excellent subject for art appreciation and your picture study rotation! 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 proportion, while also adding to his oeuvre profoundly beautiful and contemplative religious themes, 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 fine arts.

Born on May 21, 1471, in Nuremberg, Germany, Dürer 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 Italy. This trip, coupled with a second one 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 traveled occasionally in later years, he spent the majority of his adulthood in Nuremberg, building his reputation internationally as a highly skilled 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 art.

The intention of this Albrecht Dürer Picture Study Aid is to equip the home educator with some basic facts and understanding of a sampling of Dürer’s work. It is not meant to be an exhaustive analysis or study of each piece or a complete biography of the artist.

About picture study, Ms. Mason recommended keeping learning as simple as possible, especially in the younger years, and put extra emphasis on the images by themselves.

There is 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. (vol 6 pg 216)

Definite teaching is out of the question; suitable ideas are easily given, and a thoughtful love of Art inspired by simple natural talk over the picture at which the child is looking. (PR Article “Picture Talks”)

…we begin now to understand that art is not to be approached by such an acadamised road. It is of the spirit, and in ways of the spirit must we make our attempt. We recognise that the power of appreciating art and of producing to some extent an interpretation of what one sees is as universal as intelligence, imagination, nay, speech, the power of producing words. But there must be knowledge and, in the first place, not the technical knowledge of how to produce, but some reverent knowledge of what has been produced; that is, children should learn pictures, line by line, group by group, by reading, not books, but pictures themselves. A friendly picture-dealer supplies us with half a dozen beautiful little reproductions of the work of some single artist, term by term. After a short story of the artist’s life and a few sympathetic words about his trees or his skies, his river-paths or his figures, the little pictures are studied one at a time; that is, children learn, not merely to see a picture but to look at it, taking in every detail.” (vol 6 pg 214)

Picture Study Aids are 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. (vol 6 pg 43)

4 reviews for Albrecht Dürer Picture Study Aid and Art Prints

5.0 Rating
1-4 of 4 reviews
  1. Beautiful and thorough as always! A wonderful resource for homeschool families!!! These packets make artist study something we all look forward to in our family.

  2. I love these high quality prints and the guide to go with them that makes Artist Study so easy.

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