Life Story of Albrecht Durer, German Superb Master

As you look at the Self-Portrait of Albrecht Durer, you see him as a serious, well-groomed person who directly gazes at you. So intense on its own, that is how you describe the gaze of a dedicated artist.

The renowned German painter, printmaker, engraver, and mathematician, Albrecht Durer, is known for his exclusive techniques and famous artworks. He was the first non-Italian to incorporate Italian and North European techniques in producing his artwork. The great artist of the Renaissance period is famous for his woodcutting art and engravings.


The painter Albrecht Durer was the third of the eighteen children of Albrecht Dürer and Barbara Holfer. Durer had his education in St Lorenz. He also learned trading as a Jeweler and a Goldsmith with his father during that time. By 13, Durer was already skilled as a painter and had created his first self-portrait. These are some of the well-known facts about Albrecht Durer. You can find more about painter Albrecht Durer’s life story below:

Artistic Career

Albrecht Durer’s first encounter with art was in the woodcutting and printing realm. He raised the status of printmaking in the field of art, giving it more depth and tone.

It was in 1486 that Durer became an apprentice painter to Michael Wolgemut, who was famous for producing altarpieces and woodcutting art. Durer’s apprenticeship lasted for four years till he reached an artistic perfection that can be seen through Albrecht Durer’s drawings.

Travel History

To know more about the exciting facts about Albrecht Durer, it is essential to look at his travel journey. Before traveling to Italy as per the suggestion of his teacher, Michael Wolgemut, Durer took the time to learn and improve his artistic techniques as per the German style. Later, he began traveling and visited Nördlingen and Ulm, where he was exposed to the Swabian artists who incorporated the Swabian style that the Dutch-influenced.

After visiting Constance, Durer visited Basel, where he saw several similarities between the painting style of Basel and his hometown Nürnberg. Then, continuing his journey to other places, Durer finally turned back to his hometown only to plan his next visit to Italy.

Before visiting Italy, the state leading the world, Durer married Agnes. The marriage not only raised his status in his hometown but also gave him more money to set up his studio and continue his artistic career.

On his trip to Italy, he met several different artists and got exposed to the Italian art style. In addition, he saw how mathematics coincided with art and beauty and learned the concept of proportion in art. Upon his return to his hometown, Durer not only incorporated mathematical principles in his artistic practice but also painted the scenes from his visits.

He was, however, the first non-Italian to combine Renaissance Italian art with north European techniques incorporating medical and philosophical ideas into his paintings.

Artistic Techniques

While talking about the description of Albrecht Durer’s drawings, some of his works were a typical representation of his mathematical learnings incorporated into his artwork. For instance, his portrait self-portrait in a wig shows how the head was constructed proportionally. Similarly, his famous painting, Adam and Eve, showcased the ruler and compass ideals he learned over time. The painting also depicts his excellence as an engraver. This was when he learned to use burin for engravings that can be seen through the texture incorporated in Adam and Eve’s artwork.

From woodcutting to engravings, Durer mastered the various techniques of producing highly elaborate and intricate art pieces with rich symbolism and room for interpretation.

Apart from the mathematical constructs, Durer was also influenced by geometry. You can see this in his work Life of the Virgin. It was because of such artworks that, over a few years, Durer became known as an artist and a mathematician.

While his career was booming, much was happening with his personal life. Durer’s father passed away in 1502, and he had to look after her almost blind mother. This was also the time when Durer had his printing press set, and it was mostly his wife and Durer who used to sell his artwork at fairs around the town.

Unfortunately, Durer’s health also started to deteriorate. Yet, he visited Italy for the second time. This time, he was more interested in creating his name at the international level and looked forward to learning about mathematics. For this reason, he met Pacioli, the person known to contain mathematics secrets, along with many other mathematicians. Painter Albrecht Durer then returned to Nürnberg to create art under the influence of mathematics. One of the outstanding pieces he created at this time was Melancholia.

Melancholia is the artwork showcasing the first magic square visible in Europe. You can see how art associates math through the presence of polyhedrons in the painting. The polyhedron consists of around six pentagons and two equilateral triangles.

Writing Career

Durer’s interest in mathematics extended to writing. During the mid-1500s, while the artist’s health began to suffer, his work in arts continued along with that in mathematics. For the first time, he published Treatise on the proportion, which was the beginning of his later book series. This made him one of the famous Renaissance mathematicians.

Along with his works in proportion, his last days also included his dedication to religious artworks. His last painting was “The Four Apostles” which he gifted to his hometown, Nuremberg.


The great German artist Albrecht Durer is known for his printmaking, painting style, woodcutting art, writing, and engravings. He incorporated mathematics and humanism in art and combined Italian and north European techniques in his artwork. He passed away in 1528, leaving an excellent artistic legacy, especially to Nuremberg and the entire world.