While in Nuremberg, I didn't want to miss visiting the house of their most famous former citzien, artist Albrecht Duerer (1471-1528). Here Duerer ran his own large studio, training many young artists-to-be and making his own drawings, engravings, and paintings, which he successfully sold all over Europe. To be honest, I didn't know much about Duerer's life before visiting his house, now preserved as a museum.
I learned that Duerer was one of the most well-known artists of his time, celebrated as an artistic genius in Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. He left Nuremberg several times to visit Italy - to avoid the plague - and to learn more about perspective, anatomy, and other techniques developed during the Renaissance. With this knowledge, Duerer perfected his woodcut, engraving, intaglio, and other printmaking methods to create prints of exquisite quality. Duerer's outstanding prints and drawings made him a very wealthy man and a true "art star" of his time.
In his former studio room, modern day printmakers create copper plate engravings to share with visitors.
Another room houses a historic wooden printing press.
A few copies of some of Duerer's engravings. You will find more of his artwork here. I wasn't permitted to photograph any of the prints actually made by Duerer himself as the papers are now quite fragile.
Several cases display precious minerals ground into pigments Duerer used for paints.
Gum arabic and other natural materials were used to bind the pigments.
This map was not drawn by Duerer, but he did own one of the 1000 copies reproduced in 1507 by Greininger in Strasbourg. I found this wall-sized edition particularly interesting because it is supposedly the first map where America is mentioned - and you will notice that Australia hasn't been "discovered" by Europeans yet.
Duerer's house as seen from the outside. Luckily, the building was spared in the WWII bombings which destroyed 90% of historic downtown Nuremberg.
This is the view across the street from Duerer's house and to your left is the old city fortress. Duerer lived here with his wife until he died of malaria (caught on one of his travels to the Netherlands) at age 56. He had no heirs, and the house was passed on to his wife and her brothers. Through fortunate circumstances, the house has survived the centuries as one of the most well-preserved artist houses of the Northern Renaissance.
Sadly, Nuremberg is best known for the Nuremberg War Trials and the atrocities committed there during the Nazi regime between 1933-45. My husband, who is German, and I spoke about this - how 12 years of horror can cloud the history of a city that has existed for almost 1000 years. Despite this very black spot on Nuremberg's history, I must say that I found the current residents to be among the friendliest I have ever met in Germany - hospitable, relaxed, and kind to strangers with an accent. Perhaps because the people of Nuremberg realize how their city is remembered by the rest of the world, they are giving special effort to counteract these negative prejudices.
All the best to you and I hope you are surviving your own version of holiday madness! We have been baking cookies like fiends, my family just arrived from the States two days ago, and more relatives are coming to our house on the 26th... so you can just imagine how busy we are. I will be back with another post or two before Christmas (including a couple of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes), so do come back and visit. Don't forget to take a deep breath, enjoy the present moment, and take time to do things that relax and refresh you. Words I need to remember myself ;)