Artist Study: Albrecht Durer

durerAlbrecht Durer makes a wonderful target for an artist study.  Like so many of the great renaissance masters, Durer excelled in more than one artistic medium.  Personally, I regard his paintings as amazing his woodcuts; there is so much fine detail.  To think that he carved all those little patterns.  Wow!

We started our Durer journey by examining his woodcut pieces and taking special note of repetition and pattern.  Children are usually drawn to his rhino woodcut.  We then tried to find as many patterns as we could and draw them in the boxes on “Durer Patterns” sheet (find below).

Durer Patterns

Once we had examined many woodcuts and filled our sheet with different patterns we drew our own animals and filled them with the patterns we found.  Above you can see my daughter’s owl.

This is a wonderful documentary about Durer’s rhino woodcut.

Durer also is interesting because he painted self portraits.  Imagine what Durer must have looked like while painting himself.  He was probably covered in paint and in shabby clothes.  That is however not what we see in his portraits.  He is in fine gentleman’s clothing.  Clearly, Durer was ambitious and a dreamer.  I found these two videos on Khan Academy about his self portraits interesting.

Dürer, Self-portrait (1498): Albrecht Dürer, Self-portrait, 1498, oil on panel, 52 x 41 cm
(Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid)

Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker

Video on Durer Woodcut process

Dürer, Self-portrait (1500): Albrecht Dürer, Self-Portrait, 1500 (Alte Pinakothek, Munich)

Speakers: Dr. Steven Zucker & Dr. Beth Harris

Dürer’s Woodcuts and etchings: Speakers: David Drogin and Beth Harris

You can simulate woodcut  prints by drawing with a sharp pencil on a styrofoam meat tray.  Make sure you press firmly or your print will not show.  Also, using an ink roller on the meat tray really improves the result.

51iTSvM1fBLIf you haven’t read the book “Masterpiece” by Elise Broach I would highly recommend reading it before starting to study Durer.  While the book is fictional kids will learn about Durer while reading this book.  I will warn you, the book has a slow start. Stick with it, it will be worth it in the end.