Thiswoodcutis an excellent example of Albrecht Dürer'sengraver's workthroughout his lifetime. Dürer was the son of an important goldsmith in the city of Nuremberg (Germany). Very soon the young man showed his great qualities for drawing and therefore entered the workshop ofM as an apprentice. Wolgemut, the most important author of altarpieces and engravings in the city.
Apocalypse of Saint John Dürer
However, once he believed that he had learned all that could be offered there, he decided to leave and went to different places. Among them, the workshop of the most important German engraver of the time, Martin Schongauer, author of highly valued works such as The Nativity. Although he never met him in life.
After that he moved toSwitzerland, toBasel, one of the epicenters of learning and books in those days. In that city he dedicated himself to making numerous illustrations and engravings for various publications. And later he continued his training with a trip tonorthern Italy, where he studied, above all, the art of Andrea Mantegna
All this journey of travel and study concluded with his final return to Nuremberg where he opened his own workshop. And one of his first works there was this series of theApocalypse of Saint John, which gave him avery outstanding success.
The images in this theme are very medieval taste, since the horrors of the Last Judgment are portrayed in a very intense way. And it is that they are very imaginative scenes and compositions, supernatural visions of the apocalypse that in those convulsive years, religiously speaking, it was believed that it was not very far away.
We see a Dürer, who, as in his other engravings, appears to us as a master of the fantastic, capable of uniting the medieval tradition with a great approach to the forms of reality.
And as for the subject matter, the truth is that this painter was obsessed throughout his life with the inevitability of death, ever closer. And the best way to treat it was with the appearance of many symbols and figures of medieval tradition, understandable by the vast majority of the public, hence its enormous success. However, his artistic style is not medieval. Or at least it's not just Gothic roots, you can see elements more typical of his time, that is, the incipientRenaissancethat he had met on his journey through Italian lands. And even Dürer's talent for engraving was such that other motifs and forms can be observed that in some way are anticipating a still very distant baroque art. In short, Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528) is one of the greatest engravers in the entire History of Art.