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Albrecht Durer is known as the greatest German artist of the Renaissance. Durer was born in 1471 in Nuernberg, Germany. His parents were Hungarian emigrants who came to Germany in search of a better life. Durer began his career in Nuernberg, Germany with his father. His father was a Hungarian goldsmith who emigrated to Germany in 1455. Despite his father being a goldsmith, Durer began painting at the age of 14 in 1484. Durer soon became an apprentice in 1486 to a printmaker named Michel Wolgumut. Wolgumut taught Durer how to work with woodcuts and how to engrave into copper.
Beginning in 1490 Durer traveled widely for study, including trips to Italy in 1494 and 1505-7 and to Antwerp and the Low Countries in 1520-1. During his visit to Venice on his second Italian trip Durer was especially influenced by Giovanni Bellini and Bellini's brother-in-law Andrea Mantegna.
The period between his Italian trips was one of great productivity and artistic growth, characterized by his publication, 1496-8, of a portfolio of woodcuts, The Apocalypse of St. John. Scholars have suggested that the portfolio may have been intended as a veiled expression of support for the Reformation, with Babylon used as a surrogate for Rome.
Beginning at least as early as 1512, Durer became portraitist to the rich and famous of his time, including Emperor Maximilian I and Christian II of Denmark. Other sitters included Jacob Fugger and other prominent merchants, clergy and government officials.
He soon returned to Nuernberg, Germany where he died on April 6, 1528. Durer is considered by many as one of the best Renaissance artist of his time. His work can still be seen today hanging in some of the most famous museums in the entire world....
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