FINE ARTS

Albrecht Dürer

Prestel. Feb. 2020. 488p. ed. by ed. by Christof Metzger. ISBN 9783791359311. $65. FINE ARTS
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This gorgeous volume documents an important exhibition of Dürer’s1471–1528)’s work at the Albertina Museum in Vienna, bringing together the Albertina’s rich collection of drawings by the artist with significant prints and paintings from museum collections worldwide. In well-documented essays, Albertina curator Metzger meticulously argues for a refreshed assessment of Dürer’s body of work, noting that while Dürer’s reputation was as a printmaker, his ink drawings are masterly, keenly observed portrayals of nature and anatomy. Metzger illustrates how these etchings served as more than preparatory works and highlighted the artist’s technical virtuosity, promoting the quality output of his workshop. Through these artworks, readers come to appreciate the level of detail Dürer employed; botanists have identified the grass species in his watercolor, The Great Piece of Turf. Elegantly designed and organized in loose chronological order, with a biographical essay by curator Julia Zaunbauer, the catalog also serves as a reference work, with the “List of Works” identifying the physical attributes of each item as well as provenance and literature.
VERDICT Both exhibition catalog and academic endeavor, this will be enjoyed by scholars and Dürer aficionados alike.

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