Divinity and Discovery

Age of curiosity and discovery

The extensive travels of German artist Albrecht Dürer are well known; he was the first truly international artist and already famous in his twenties. He combined his prowess with woodcuts and engraving with new technological developments in printing. Dürer’s Self-Portrait with Fur-Trimmed Robe from 1500 employs the conventions of religious painting, such as the raised hand which suggests the act of blessing, and bears a strong resemblance to portrayals of Christ.

Thus I, Albrecht Dürer from Nuremberg, portrayed myself with characteristic colors in my 28th year.

Latin inscription by the artist

Listen to Dr. Steven Zucker and Dr. Beth Harris discuss Dürer and his work. Source: Smarthistory

The era when Portuguese fleets sailed out across the globe is recorded in a group portrait of those gathered to commemorate 15th century expansion into the Maghreb. The Saint Vincent Panels were originally built in the altarpiece of Saint Vincent of the chancel of Lisbon Cathedral, and are attributed to Nuno Gonçalves (active 1450-1491), royal painter of King Alfonso V.

The royal connections of Danish artist Melchior Lorck took him all over the world. He is the first Danish artist whose work is extensively documented and his range of work – from urban scenes to 16th century fashion – was very wide. Ten Women of Stralsund belongs to a group of drawings that were presumably done as studies for woodcuts for a projected book about the history of clothes.

A portrait painted by another royal appointment, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, reflects the Renaissance fascination with the bizarre. His depiction of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II was designed to portray a reign perfectly in harmony with nature.

Learn more about the history and meaning of this fascinating painting with Bengt Kylsberg of the Skoklosters Slott.

Discover more of Arcimboldo’s work on Europeana Art History Collections and to see how Vertumnus continues to inspire artists today, visit the Pinterest board below compiled by Skoklosters Slott.