New Duerer exhibit focuses on artist's early years

A new exhibit in Albrecht Duerer's hometown opened Thursday, bringing together works by the German Renaissance artist from a dozen countries with a focus on his formative early years.

The Duerer exhibition at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum is the largest in Germany in 40 years, encompassing the artist's creative period until 1505, including self-portraits and portraits of family and friends, as well as his ambitious nature studies and drawings.

"It made a lot of sense for us to focus on Duerer's development until the year 1505," said curator Daniel Hess. "During this period of time the important developments of his artistic work took place."

The exhibit includes the museum's own Duerer collection as well as 120 of the artist's most important works provided by 51 lenders around the world.

The oldest work — "Self-Portrait" from the Albertina museum in Vienna — dates back to 1484 when Duerer was only 13-years-old. The latest, from 1504, is the "Adoration of the Magi" from the Uffizi in Florence.

His wide body of work also includes religious works, altarpieces, copper engravings and woodcuts.

Duerer was born in 1471 in Nuremberg, which was an economic and cultural center at the time. He died there in 1528.

During his life he made several trips abroad, including two to Italy that had a strong influence on his life. Landscape watercolors made on his first journey there in 1494 are considered some of his most beautiful paintings, and his second trip there in 1505 brought him into contact with Venetian master Giovanni Bellini, whose influence is seen in Duerer's pictures of men and women from this period.

"The mixture of wide loose strokes and fine calligraphic finish make Duerer's paintings so lively," Hess said. "He is never boring and brash. His work is very virtuosic, free and very accurate."

The exhibit runs through Sept. 2.