Portrait of Emperor Maximilian I by Albrecht Durer

Portrait of Emperor Maximilian I by Albrecht Durer

In the spring of 1512 the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Maximilian I of Habsburg visited Nuremberg, where he met Albrecht Durer.

Durer together with the students of his workshop took part in the work on the order of the emperor – the “Triumphal Arch”, a monumental xylograph composed of impressions from 192 boards. A grandiose composition, conceived and performed in honor of Maximilian, was intended to decorate the wall.

Maximilian I became the patron saint of the artist and appointed him a lifetime pension of 100 guilders a year. However, the financial difficulties of the emperor did not allow him to pay off with Durer in time.

In 1518, in Augsburg there was a meeting of the Seimas. Maximilian called Durer in Augsburg, so that the artist painted his portrait. Durer met the emperor in the castle and made a pencil drawing.

On January 12, 1519, the emperor died and Durer then used his drawing as the basis for woodcut and two picturesque portraits, one in tempera technique and another with oil.

This is a ceremonial portrait, where the emperor is depicted in three-quarters on a green background. According to the tradition of Flemish painting, his hands lie on an invisible parapet, coinciding with the lower boundary of the picture. In his left hand Maximilian I holds a large grenade – a symbol of the Holy Roman Empire.

In the upper part of the picture there is a coat of arms of the Habsburgs with a double-headed eagle and a long inscription in capital gold letters, which tells of the deeds of the emperor.

The aristocratic face attracts attention, the emperor was a great connoisseur and connoisseur of the arts, he knew Flemish, French and English, and in his youth had such physical strength that legends about her went about. He was a very good tournament fighter. Maximilian’s rule was of great importance for the development of the Austrian state, he launched a broad program for the transformation of the country’s public administration system.

Elegant clothes with a wide fur collar and a dark hat with wide margins are painted by the artist with amazing craftsmanship. Pay attention to the facial expression – how much dignity and responsibility it contains.

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