This is a man who took centre-stage in the world of art at a time when most artistic attention was focussed on Italy or the Netherlands. Albrecht Dürer came from Nuremberg and lived most of his 57 years there, although he travelled a great deal, constantly searching for new information and striving to improve his already prodigious skill.
His early training was that of a goldsmith, following in the family tradition, but ‘my liking attracted me to painting rather than goldsmith’s work.’ That said, it stood him in good stead as we can see from the attention to minute detail and the ability to work in several media. Not only were his portraits and altarpieces exquisitely and acutely observed, but he revolutionised the world of wood-cuts and engravings.
We know much about his character because he was the first German to write about his own life. He was also the first in Germany to draw nudes from life and he was the first to write on the theory of art as well as to create it. Only his contemporary, Leonardo da Vinci, bears comparison with him in these achievements.