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Alphabe Thursday D is for Durer

December 12, 2013

Durer is is a very tenuous link to my self imposed colour themed Alphabe Thursday. But rest assured there is method to my madness.  I really couldn’t think of an interesting colour that begins with ‘D’ so Durer seemed a good alternative.

Durer is famous for his powerful woodcut of a rhinoceros.  It was in the first depiction of the exotic animal  seen in  Europe in 1515. It was of course misleading as the armour-plated beast had a horn on its shoulder. It did however, remain unchallenged for several centuries although other artists did try to paint rhinoceroses with varying degrees of correctness; such as Oudry, Ridinger, Longhi and Stubbs.

Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) was a German painter, engraver, printmaker, mathematician  and theorist. His woodcuts were famed throughout Europe while he was still a very young artist; he has been known as the greatest artist of the northern Renaissance ever since.

I am not a devotee of Durer; only to me known for the Rhinoceros; I have now learned that  his work does include  altarpieces, religious works, numerous portraits and self-portraits, and copper engravings.

I searched for some colourful images to be in keeping with the aforementioned rule and found these lovely but not colourful examples of his work.  

But I did find a thought provoking quote that does suggest that Durer  did use ultramarine when painting.He famously wrote a furious letter  from Nuremberg to whom I know not complaining that ‘ 100 florins barely bought a pound of ultramarine’  Today I am reliably informed by Victoria Finlay in Colour that ‘the paint  from Afghan stones to a Renaissance recipe, costs around £2,500.00 for the same amount. However I am not sure whether this good or bad news … a florin in my day was 2 shillings which is now 10 pence so  in Durer’s time 1lb of blue paint was £10.00 but we have since had 500 years of inflation!

Further reading The rhinoceros from Durer to Stubbs 1515-1919 by T.H. Clark

Colour by Victoria Finlay

 alphabet thursday


12 Comments leave one →
  1. December 12, 2013 12:34 pm

    I appreciated getting a little education under my belt on Durer, who I am not at familiar with. I learn so much reading other classmates’ Alphabe-Thursday drafts. Have a nice day!

    • December 12, 2013 12:58 pm

      I know what you mean … I have learned more in the last two years on a Thursday than I ever did at school!

  2. December 12, 2013 2:41 pm

    Very informative post for D and great photos ~ thanks, carol, xxx

  3. December 13, 2013 1:30 am

    Never heard of Durer before today. Thank you for the intro.

  4. December 13, 2013 2:44 am

    if that’s him on the bottom, with the oversized hands, he’s an interesting looking character! {:-Deb

    • December 13, 2013 8:04 am

      Yes it is a self- portrait; it was a a frontispiece in a prayer book I thought it was Jesus! 🙂

  5. December 27, 2013 7:19 am

    Ultramarine is derived from the semi-precious stone, lapis lazuli… It has such a beautiful, deep blue!

    I love Durer’s rhinoceros…

    Delightful post for the letter “D”!

    Thanks for linking.


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