A MAJOR exhibition of prints by Renaissance artist Albrecht Durer opened at the Lady Lever Art Gallery on Friday.
Durer, who lived from 1471 to 1528, was the first great artist to achieve fame through prints, and earned his Europe wide reputation while still in his 20s.
Entitled Durer and Italy, the exhibition carries engraved classics by the Nuremburg born pioneer, alongside Italian works by his contemporaries.
Fascinated by Italy from an early age, Durer first visited in 1494 and stayed there between 1505 and 1507.
He promoted himself as an artist, met engravers and studied perspective, a technique then unknown in Germany.
He would go on to produce two distinct types of prints.
Cheap woodcuts, often sold as bound sets, were aimed at the popular market while his, more expensive, detailed engravings appealed to fellow artists and collectors.
Sandra Penketh, head of the Lady Lever said: “Durer is the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance whose work has never been out of favour. These wonderful prints demonstrate how far his influence reached in his lifetime and beyond.”
The exhibition features 24 prints in total, eleven of which are by Durer.
They include his well-known images, the Fall of Man (Adam and Eve), The Prodigal Son and Melancholia.
Also featured is Wenceslas Hollar’s famous etching of the artist, based on a self-portrait that hangs in the Prado Gallery, Spain.
As his reputation grew, Durer became known to Raphael, who went on to provide sketches to be engraved by artists such as Marcantonio.
His Gothic Judgement of Paris and Massacre of the Innocents, both engraved in collaboration with Raphael, provide a dry, classical contrast to Durer’s work.
Also included in the collection, loaned by the Hunterian Museum and Gallery in Glasgow, are Durer’s most popular woodcuts Passion of the Christ and Life of the Virgin.
Durer and Italy runs at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, until September 26.