· Self Portrait 1493
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This series is not intended to be a university course. I am not an art scholar - I am just a painter. I'm going to reveal some secrets that I stumbled upon. Of course, you too may discover some of these secrets in books, but they are hard to decipher. It will be my pleasure to do so and spread the word. My motto will be, as always:
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Welcome to our third investigation. I started off with Rembrandt, some 350 years ago, jumped to our century with Chagall, now we jump back again for 500 years. I chose this self portray of Albrecht Duerer for my first pairing for Pablo Journal, together with a self portray of Rembrandt.
Like Rembrandt, Duerer is famous for several outstanding self portrays. This one was made during his time on the road, which lasted four years. Originating from Nuernberg, this painting was made in Strasburg. Many details are very peculiar, and we will have a close look at some of them.
The most peculiar detail is his funny red cap, drawn only over half of his head, showing long curly blond hair. The cap is topped off with something I can't find a word for in my dictionary. I have one in German (Bommel), and I'm sure you have one in English, too. The next detail coming to mind is his fine precious shirt, which together with the cap adds very much to the female mood.
His coat is very precious also, and leads the eye to his hands. The hands are presented very prominently and contrast very much to the soft overall impression. Compare them with his chin, showing the first hairs of his beard. His right hand is bent as if he would play the harp, but instead the hands present a thistle, its stem bent peculiarly by the left hand.
The thistle probably has a meaning and is presented to symbolize something we don't know any more. Right over the topping of his cap, he wrote in large letters the year and some words in very small letters. I bet you have no chance to find out their meaning either.
Looking at his face, it is clear that this young man is very ambitious. Do you notice how his body fits into the panel and constitutes a great strength? You wouldn't guess that this young man is a painter, would you?
By the way, this painting was made a couple of years before the turn of a century. Can you imagine how people felt 500 years ago approaching the turn of a century?
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© 1998,1999 Art Quarter Art Journal
· ISSN 1437-1340
© 1998,1999 · Werner Stürenburg
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