Dürer's Mother
Beauty, Old Age and Death in Renaissance Art

05.05.2006 to 16.07.2006


Albrecht Dürer's large portrait drawing of his 63-year-old mother belongs to the most precious treasures of the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett - Museum of Prints and Drawings. Drawn two months before her death in May 1514, the portrait reveals the son's deep emotional tie to his mother. At the same time, it is an early example of an artist's unconditional representation of the physical decay of a moribund person. Hence, this work occupies an exceptional position in the development of European portraiture. The portrait, as unusual as it is outstanding, forms a starting point and focus of the exhibition. The show highlights manifold aspects of Early Renaissance representations of age and death. At the same time, it offers insights into Dürer's portraiture as an art form between private life and official commissions. From the context of selected drawings and prints by Dürer's contemporaries Hans Baldung Grien, Hans Holbein the Elder, and Matthias Grünewald, as well as important predecessors such as Martin Schongauer and the Master E. S., "Age" emerges as a subject of great prominence in the years around 1500.