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Albrecht Dürer (21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528); painter, printmaker and theorist of the German Renaissance. Born in Nuremberg, Dürer established his reputation and influence across Europe when he was still in his twenties, due to his high-quality woodcut prints. He was in communication with the major Italian artists of his time, including Raphael, Giovanni Bellini and Leonardo da Vinci, and from 1512 he was patronized by emperor Maximilian I.
A supremely gifted and versatile German artist of the Renaissance period, Albrecht Dürer was born in the Franconian city of Nuremberg, one of the strongest artistic and commercial centers in Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries. He was a brilliant painter, draftsman, and writer, though his first and probably greatest artistic impact was in the medium of printmaking. Dürer apprenticed with his father, who was a goldsmith, and with the local painter Michael Wolgemut, whose workshop produced woodcut illustrations for major books and publications. An admirer of his compatriot Martin Schongauer, Dürer revolutionized printmaking, elevating it to the level of an independent art form. He expanded its tonal and dramatic range, and provided the imagery with a new conceptual foundation. By the age of thirty, Dürer had completed or begun three of his most famous series of woodcuts on religious subjects: The Apocalypse, the Large Woodcut Passion cycle, and the Life of the Virgin. He went on to produce independent prints, such as the engraving Adam and Eve and small, self-contained groups of images, such as the so-called Meisterstiche (master engravings) featuring Knight, Death, and the Devil, Saint Jerome in His Study, and Melencolia I, which were intended more for connoisseurs and collectors than for popular devotion. Their technical virtuosity, intellectual scope, and psychological depth were unmatched by by earlier work....