Dürer's House Over the Course of the Centuries
The residence of the famous Nuremberg painter and graphic artist Albrecht Dürer is situated close to Tiergärtnertor right below the Castle. The artist bought it at the height of his fame in 1509, and lived here until his death in 1528, together with his wife Agnes, his mother, his pupils and apprentices.
After Dürer's death, the house fell into oblivion. It was only in the 19th century, that people started to remember the great painter. The house subsequently became something of a Dürer shrine.
As early as 1949, the major damage caused by World War II was repaired. In 1971, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the artist's birth, the house was redesigned as a museum in homage of Dürer: a modern exhibition annexe was built. The new museum concept of 1994 - entitled "Back to Dürer" - was implemented within the next three years. Since then, the master of the house has again been the focus of attention.
The Welcoming Entrance Hall
When entering Albrecht Dürer's House, visitors are welcomed into a large hall with two massive wooden pillars.
This type of entrance hall was typical of Nuremberg town houses. The entrance door was big enough to admit carriages which could drive right in.
This is where goods were stored, but also where trade and business took place. In the Dürer residence, the hall was where the mistress of the house, with the help of Dürer's assistants, bundled up his graphic works and stored them in barrels for transport to trade fairs and markets all over the world. Living Quarters
On the first floor of Albrecht Dürer's House, the historic kitchen with its large, original fireplace permits a view of the everyday life of bourgeois citizens in the early 16th century.
On the other side of the hall, there are two living rooms furnished in the style of the late Renaissance (commissioned in 1879). They are named after their designer, Nuremberg Art School Professor, Friedrich Wanderer. They are finely crafted rooms in the "historicism" style of the 19th century, permitting a glimpse of the reception of the "cult figure" Albrecht Dürer during that time.
A small connecting room on the first floor of the house most probably served as the Dürers' bedroom, because it is situated immediately adjacent to the warming fireplace of the kitchen. Since no furnishings survive, thirteen wall panels illustrate the life of Albrecht Dürer: his father's Hungarian origins and move to Nuremberg, Dürer's parents and siblings, his apprenticeship with Michael Wolgemut, his marriage to Agnes Frey, his travels, friendships, his encounters with Emperor Maximilian I, Martin Luther, Willibald Pirckheimer, Phillipp Melanchthon, and his artistic development.
Designing and Printing
This is the heart of Dürer's house: The largest room, with mild north-easterly light flooding in, contains the painting workshop.
Visitors may see how a panel painting is created and may find out about the preparation and origins of the pigments used. In addition, there are continual demonstrations of the printing techniques refined by Dürer - copper plate engraving and woodcut.
Opposite the "living workshop", next to a small kitchen for pigment and glue preparation, there is a further room for printing. Several times a day, visitors may see the large relief-printing press in action. Painting and Graphic Art
Special showcases permit the display, during some months of the year, of original graphic works by Dürer. For conservation reasons, this is only possible on a temporary basis, in turn with special exhibitions.
The anteroom displays high quality copies of Dürer's famous panel paintings. These copies keep the artist's work alive in his home town.
A third room shows numerous and manifold artistic works in Dürer's wake, giving a glimpse of the interesting collection policy of the Foundation Albrecht Dürer's House - an association established in the 19th century and active until this day.
Agnes Dürer Guides Through Albrecht Dürer’s House
An actress portraying Agnes Dürer, the wife of the great Nuremberg artist, will guide visitors through her house in person. Complete with house mistress' bonnet and large key-ring fixed to her apron, she meets the visitors and tells "inside stories". So interested visitors may find out quite a bit about life and work in an artist's household, about Agnes' work in kitchen, workshop and house, about illustrious guests and (sometimes less than) industrious apprentices, about her dealings with money, and her (not always easy) relationship with Albrecht Dürer.
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