Albrecht Durer was the first Northern artist to be directly influenced by first-hand contact with the Italian Renaissance. He was born in Nuremberg on 21st May 1471, one of at least fourteen children. His father was a goldsmith and his godfather was a printer and publisher, the young artist learned the basics of drawing and woodcutting from these two men.
He became proficient in painting, printmaking, engraving and mathematics, he was also a theorist, a prolific writer on perspective and the proportions of the human body.
He is regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance, a true all-rounder, the equal of the artistic giants from Italy.
At the age of fifteen he was apprenticed to Michel Wolgemut, the leading Nuremberg painter of his day. Wolgemut ran a large workshop producing many works of art and woodcuts for books.
Durer traveled throughout Western Germany learning his trade from masters in Strasberg, Colmar and Basel, perfecting his techniques in the German tradition of the times.
On 7th July 1494 at the age of 23 and on his return to Nuremberg, he married Agnes Frey, a marriage arranged in his absence.
Nuremberg was a prosperous and independent city with close trading relationships with Italy. Between 1494 and 1495 the artist made his first trip to Venice. He made watercolour sketches as he travelled over the Alps - and what brilliant images they are - these are the first pure landscapes ever produced in Western Art.