I’ve been looking closely at the work of Albrecht Dürer over the past couple weeks, particularly the woodcuts derived from the Book of Revelations. They’re really an astonishing group of prints. Dürer did them just after a trip to Italy where he’d seen Andrea Mantegna’s work and one can see the stylistic influence of Mantegna in the work. The woodcut prints for the Cologne Bible, printed in 1478-79 and the engravings of Schongauer were also important influences. Dürer fused these separate influences into transcendent and revolutionary visions, the impact of which are still completely present in their intensity today.
The Opening of the Fifth and Sixth Seals:
Martin Schongauer’s Temptation of St. Anthony (There’s a copy of this that Michelangelo made as an oil painting–at least it’s been attributed to M) :
The Cologne Bible:
Andrea Mantegna’s stupendous engraving Bachanal with Silenius from the 1470s. I never fail to be inspired by Mantegna’s work. He’s one of my favorite Renaissance artists. What I love is the rhythmic movement through the figures combined with the odd contrasts set up between each of the separate figures. I love the comic touch where the obese figure being carried on the far left also has to have one leg supported on that prop. And the figure bearing the load has his legs sinking into the water. It does so much to bring across the feeling of the actual crushing heaviness of the fellow’s burden.