Pressemitteilung “Dürer's Mother. Beauty, Old Age and Death in

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					                                                                        Pressemitteilung

Berlin, den 4.5.2006

Kupferstichkabinett
Kulturforum Potsdamer Platz
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                                                                                              Staatliche Museen
“Dürer’s Mother. Beauty, Old Age and Death in                                                 zu Berlin
                                                                                              Generaldirektion
Renaissance Art”                                                                              Stauffenbergstraße 41
                                                                                              10785 Berlin
Eine Ausstellung des Kupferstichkabinetts vom 5. Mai -16. Juli 2006,
Kulturforum Potsdamer Platz, Eingang: Matthäikirchplatz, 10785 Berlin                         Dr. Matthias Henkel
                                                                                              Leiter Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
Geöffnet: Di, Mi, Fr 10 – 18 Uhr, Do 10 – 22 Uhr, Sa + So 11 – 18 Uhr.                        matthias.henkel@
Pfingstmontag 5.6.2006, 10 – 18 Uhr, Di. 6.6.2006 geschlossen.                                smb.spk-berlin.de
Öffentliche Führungen: sonntags 15 Uhr.
Eröffnung: Donnerstag, 4. Mai 2006, 19 Uhr                                                    Anne Schäfer-Junker
                                                                                              Pressekontakt
    „Awch behelt daz gemell dy gestalt der menschen nach jrem sterben.“1                      a.schaefer-junker@
                                                                                              smb.spk-berlin.de
The portrait drawn of Barbara Dürer, née Holper, Albrecht Dürer’s                             Tel +49(0)30-266-2629
mother, is an outstanding example of European portraiture. It is the first                    Fax +49(0)30-266-2995
time that an artist represents his old, sick mother in a precisely realistic
portrait. The 63-year-old Barbara Dürer had given birth to 18 children,
of whom only three reached adulthood. Around 1504, two years after                            www.smb.museum
the death of her significantly older husband Albrecht Dürer the Elder,
                                                                                              www.MuseumShop.de
she moved to her son’s home. Ten years later, in 1514, he memorialized
her with this exceptional, carefully-observed portrait study.

Dürer was, at this point, at the height of his artistic career and of his
public influence. He was deeply involved in the intellectual discussion
about the so-called master engravings „Knight, Death, and Devil“,
„Melencolia I“ and „St. Jerome in His Study“. He also planned and
designed a text book on painting. Beyond that, he was involved in
numerous highly honourable and lucrative projects of Emperor
Maximilian I.

And just at that time, on the 3rd Sunday in Lent in the year 1514,
“oculi“ Sunday, he drew in a quiet hour the portrait in charcoal on a
large sheet of paper – as if he wanted to assure himself of the failing
mother by holding her image on paper. This idea is closely connected
with Dürer’s contemporaneous reflections for the text book on painting
:“The painting preserves the form of people after their death“ is the
reason given for the use of painting and portraiture. Dürer realized that
his mother would not be with him very long anymore. Two months later,
on May 16th, 1514, she died.

Dürer recorded the death of his mother in a touching report in the so-
called “Memorial Book”. In it, he impressively described her painful
dying and the pain he felt at this moment. Both testimonials evidence
Dürer’s sensitive observation that resulted from a heightened self-
awareness and astute observation of his environment.

1
    Albrecht Dürer, Entwurf zur Einleitung in das Lehrbuch der Malerei und in die Lehre
von menschlicher Proportion, cit. nach Hans Rupprich (Hrsg.): Dürer. Schriftlicher Nachlaß.
3 Bde., Berlin 1956-69, Bd. II, S. 109, Z. 51f.
                                                         Pressemitteilung


These two works central to the exhibition reveal details about a typical
woman’s fate in Early Modern Times. At the same time, it provides
substantial insights into Dürer’s self-understanding and perception of
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art, significant for one who was, already at his time, the most important     Staatliche Museen
artist north of the Alps. The very character of the mother’s portrait and     zu Berlin
the “Memorial Book” are testimony to the artist’s world experience and        Generaldirektion
creativity. The “Memorial Book” mirrors notions about “appropriate“           Stauffenbergstraße 41
dying and the “just” death, as they were reflected upon in art and            10785 Berlin
literature of the time. Dürer’s intensive occupation with portraiture and
                                                                              Dr. Matthias Henkel
his lifelong search for the truth of nature, as well as the canon of beauty
                                                                              Leiter Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
and that of the appropriate illustration of man, are reflected in his         matthias.henkel@
mother’s portrait.                                                            smb.spk-berlin.de
As a neutrally characterised picture of the 63-year-old, “Dürer’s Mother”
contrasts significantly with typical representations of older women           Anne Schäfer-Junker
around 1500, which predominately defame them as ugly, stingy, senile          Pressekontakt
                                                                              a.schaefer-junker@
or lewd.
                                                                              smb.spk-berlin.de
In addition, this work marks a special position in the class of private
portraits between claims as private-intimate and representational. The        Tel +49(0)30-266-2629
likeness of Barbara Dürer is a very personal testimony – nevertheless, at     Fax +49(0)30-266-2995
the same time, it is also a monumental likeness. This apparent
contradiction could only be resolved with such forcefulness in the
medium of drawing.                                                            www.smb.museum

                                                                              www.MuseumShop.de
Kurator der Ausstellung:
Dr. Michael Roth, Kustos am Kupferstichkabinett

Service

Eine Ausstellung des Kupferstichkabinetts vom 5. Mai -16. Juli 2006
Kulturforum Potsdamer Platz, Eingang: Matthäikirchplatz, 10785 Berlin
Geöffnet: Di, Mi, Fr 10 – 18 Uhr, Do 10 – 22 Uhr, Sa + So 11 – 18 Uhr.
Pfingstmontag 5.6.2006, 10 – 18 Uhr, Di. 6.6.2006 geschlossen.
Öffentliche Führungen: sonntags 15 Uhr.

Sekretariat des Kupferstichkabinetts
Tel.: 030 - 266-2002
Fax: 030-2662959
Internet: www.kupferstichkabinett.de

Gruppenführungen (auch fremdsprachig)
Abteilung SMB-Besucher-Dienste:
Tel.: 030 – 266-3666, Fax 030 – 2663670

				
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