The painting we see here is one of the many self-portraits that Albert Dürer made. Specifically, this work is an oil on panel painted in 1499 and preserved in the museum of El Prado de Madrid.
In fact, he was a painter obsessed with his own image, because even a self-portrait of him at the age of 13 made with graphite is preserved. And by the way, in that very early work you can already appreciate Dürer's artistic mastery and his awareness that he already knew of his beauty and personal attractiveness, perhaps because he also knew of his genius as a child.
And the truth is that any of his self-portraits like this one, or the one from 1493 made on parchment and preserved in the Louvre de Paris, or the one from 1500 exhibited in theMunich Gallery, he shows himself as very proud.
In this picture he was 27 years old and for the occasion he was dressed in the Venetian way, almost princely. Four years earlier he had visited Italy and there he metGiovanni Belliniand Venetian painting. Of course he greatly admired the art of the painters of the city of canals, but above all he was amazed by the social respect that artists enjoyed in that Italy of theRenaissance. And of course he wanted it to be the same in his nativeGermany, however the rank of artist hada much lower social prestige in his country.
That is to say, in some way this self-portrait, for which he disguises himself, is in some way a tribute to Italy and also a vindication, since at that time he had had great success with his Engravings of the Apocalypse, because Dürer achieved considerable fame as a painter during his lifetime, but his price was much higher as an engraver. And of course he wanted to be appreciated as the great artist that he considered himself and that he really was.
In all the portraits of him in one way or another he also always conveys that idea. For example, in the Munich self-portrait his pose, appearance and lack of expression are very reminiscent of a portrait of Jesus Christ. Even the physical appearance of him with long hair, beards, young and in a robe recall the stereotype of Jesus Christ. It is not that he wanted to compare himself to him, nor that he commits blasphemy. In fact, Albert Dürer was very religious, but what he would like to tell us is that he also suffers and wants to imitate Christ.
Each one of his self-portraits shows us aDürerdressed in a different way, but always as a person very proud of himself and always with the same anagram that is became his curious artistic signature