Portrait of “Cleric” by Albrecht Durer

Portrait of Cleric by Albrecht Durer

“Cleric” – one of the most brilliant portraits of Albrecht Durer. It is not known who was the prototype portrayed in the portrait, critics argued a lot and assumed, but they did not come to a single opinion. Therefore, we will understand only in terms and artistic merits of the picture.

A man who believed that religion should play a fundamental role in the political and spiritual life of society was clerical. Albrecht Durer portrayed the cleric with a frantic expression on his face. No reflection, no spirituality – only persistent faith. His mission he sees in defending the interests

of the church and in this he is unshakable.

During this period, the society grew in ferment, the people were dissatisfied with the spread of indulgences, which were sold and were considered absolution. Pope Leo X brought the sale of indulgences to the extreme. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his “95 theses” to the doors of the Wittenberg Castle Church, in which he opposed the existing abuses of the Catholic Church, in particular against the sale of indulgences, which was the beginning of the Reformation.

Durer’s intuition felt and pictured not just a cleric – a stronghold. Pay attention to his powerful stubborn chin and strong-willed expression. He will not back down and will not yield. Reformation is already on the threshold, ahead of a brutal and ruthless struggle…

The composition of the picture is simple and the color range is restrained, black clothes on a neutral background emphasize a brightly lit face. The unknown cleric has beautiful reddish hair, but all eyes attract very dark pupils, everything drowns in them – thoughts, hopes… Only inflexibility. Surprisingly not that Durer immediately comprehended the psychology of man, but the fact that he was able to express it on canvas. And through the centuries the artist’s intention and essence of his work reach us. Therefore, Albrech Durer is a brilliant artist, and the portrait of “Clerical” is one of his masterpieces.

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