Front Cover
 Title Page
 Albrecht Durer, 1471-1528
 Back Cover

Group Title: Young folks' library of choice literature, great artist series
Title: Albrecht Durer and his city
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Title: Albrecht Durer and his city
Series Title: Young folks' library of choice literature, great artist series
Alternate Title: Durer
Physical Description: 48 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Keysor, Jennie Ellis, b. 1860
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Publisher: Educational Publishing Company
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Publication Date: c1899
Subject: Artists -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 1a
    Title Page
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Albrecht Durer, 1471-1528
        Page 5
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    Back Cover
        Page 49
        Page 50
Full Text

Published Weekly.
Vol. VI. May 8, 1899.

No. 160

Price, $2.5o per year.
Double Numbers, 1o cts.

Young Folk's Library of Choice Literature



Copyrighted 1899, by
50 Bromfield St., Boston
Entered at the Post Office, Boston, Mass., as second-class matter


STen Cent Classics.

(Texts that are accurate and authentic.)

i4 Paper. Cloth. i
| Edited, with introduction and notes .xo .25
Edited, with introduction and notes .o .25
.4 Edited, with introduction and notes. .10 .25
.. Edited, with introduction and notes .o .25
SEdited, with introduction and notes .25 it
4 Edited, with introduction and notes o .25
4% Edited, with introduction and notes .25 t
Edited, with introduction and notes, by M. A. i
j. EATON, A B. .25
4 Edited, with introduction and notes, by M. A. t
.l EATON, A. B .10 .25 .
4% Edited, with introduction and notes, by M A i t
% EATON, A. B. ...10o .25 i
4 Edited, with introduction and notes, by M. A.
EATON, A. B. .25

Boston New York Chicago San Francisco

The Baldwin Library

.s-mi\^ll. F da

" Art manifests whatever is most exallted and it
manifests it to all" -TAINE



AtNhior of Ske 'thes of American Ath/ors"



Of a truth this man would have surpassed us all if he had

had the master-pieces of art constantly before him."

Hardly any master has scattered with so lavish a hand all

that the soul has conceived of fervid feeling or pathos, all that
thought has grasped of what is strong or sublime, all that the

imagination has conceived of poetic wealth; in no one has the

depth and power of the German genius been so gloriously revealed
as in him."


"He was content to be a precious corner-stone in the edifice of
German Art, the future grandeur of which he could only foresee."




I- '


1471 528.

In our study of the great artists so far, we have found
that each glorified some particular city and that, what-
ever other treasures that city may have had in the past,
it is the recollections of its great artist that hallow it
most deeply today. Thus, to think of Antwerp is to
think instantly of Rubens. Leyden and Amsterdam as
quickly recall to our minds the name of Rembrandt.
Seville without Murillo would lose its chief charm, while
Urbino is Raphael and, without the revered name of the
painter, would seldom draw the visitor to its secluded
To the quaintest of European cities the name of
Albrecht Durer instinctively carries us to Nuremberg.
"That ancient, free, imperial town,
Forever fair and young."
Were we to study Durer without first viewing his
venerable city which he so deeply loved all his life that


no promise of gain from gorgeous Venetian court or
from wealthy Antwerp burgers could detain him long
from home, we should leave untouched a delightful
subject and one deeply inwoven in the life and thought
of the artist. Were we to omit a brief consideration of
his time and the way the German mind looked at things
and naturally represented them in words and in pictures,
we should come away from Durer impressed only with
his great homely figures and faces and wondering why,
in every list of the great artists of the world, Durer's
name should stand so high.
Having these things in mind, it will not then seem so
far away to speak of Nuremberg and Luther before we
rehearse the things which make up the life of Albrecht
Nuremberg does not boast a very early date, for she
began her existence just after the year one thousand
when men, finding out surely that the end of the world
was not come, took as it were a new lease of life. The
thing she does boast is that her character as a medieval
town has been almost perfectly preserved up to the
present day.
There were many things which made Nuremberg an
important city in early times. She was conveniently
located for traders who shipped vast amounts of
merchandise from Venice to the great trade centers in


the Netherlands. For many years she was a favorite
city of the Emperor and here were kept the crown jewels
which were displayed with great pomp once a year.
The country immediately about Nuremberg was sandy
but carefully cultivated. There were also large banks
of clay very useful to the citizens in the manufacture of
pottery. Like the salt of Venice, it was a natural
source of wealth to the citizens. Very early we find a
paper mill here, and here, too, were set up some of the
earliest printing presses, 1 Perhaps the most interesting
of the early wares of this enterprising city were the
watches. The first made in the world were manufac-
tured here and from their shape they were called
"Nuremberg Eggs. We have a story that Charles V.
had a watchmaker brought in a sedan chair all the way
from Nuremberg that he might have his watch repaired.
Here was manufactured the first gun-lock, and here was
invented the valued metallic compound known as brass.
From all these sources the citizens grew rich, but
their wealth did not make them forget their city. A
little more than fifty years before Durer's birth, the
Emperor being very much in need of money, they
bought their freedom. For this they paid what would
be, in our money, about a million of dollars. It was a
goodly price, but they gave it freely. Then they
destroyed the house where their governor or Burgrave

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In the church of sainted Sebald sleeps enshrined his holy dust,
And in bronze the Twelve Apostles guard from age to age their trust.-Lonyfellow


had lived and they were henceforth ruled by a council
selected from their own number.
The city lies on both sides of the river Pegnitz which
divides it into two almost equal parts. The northern
side is named from its great church, St. Sebald's, and the
southern for that of St. Lawrence. Originally the city
was enclosed by splendid ramparts. Three hundred and
sixty-five towers broke the monotony of the extensive
walls. Of these one hundred are still standing today.
In days gone by, a moat thirty-five feet wide encircled
the wall, but since peace has taken the place of war and
security has come instead of hourly danger, the moat has
been drained and thrifty kitchen gardens fill the space.
Within the city are some of the most beautiful build-
ings both private and public. Here, too, sculpture, which
the Germans cultivated before they did painting, has
left rare monuments. Among these last we must notice
the wonderful shrine of St. Sebald in the church of the
same name. For thirteen years Peter Vischer and his
five sons labored on this work. Long it was to toil and
vexing were the questions which arose in the progress of
the work; but the result was a master-piece which stands
alone among the art works of the world. Nor can we
forget the foamy ciborium of the Church of St Law-
rence. For sixty-five feet this miracle of snowy marble
rises in the air, growing more lacey at every step until,


in its terminal portions, so delicate does it become that it
seems like the very clouds in fleeciness.
Church doorways are carved with beautiful and fan-
tastic forms by men whose names were long ago forgotten.


Common dwellings are adorned with picturesque dormer
windows. Even the narrow crooked streets hold their
share of beauty, for here are fountains so exquisite in
their workmanship that their like is not to be found else-
where. Here it is the Beautiful Fountain, gay with
sculptures of heroes and saints, and there it is the Little
Gooseman's Fountain where humor is added to beauty.


Through all the years stands the little man with a goose
under either arm, patiently receiving his daily drenching.
Still two other fountains known to fame send up their
crystal waters to greet the light.
If we seek for more modern things we are also
rewarded, for here in Durer Square stands Rauch's

i ..' .

.himself in -4 '. AL LP

great statue of the artist, copied from Durer's portrait
of himself in Vienna. We note the custom house, one
of the oldest buildings, the town hall and the burg or
castle, which for many years was the favorite residence
of the Emperor.
Here, too, are many fine old houses which used to
belong to noblemen of the city. It is not these resi-

Everywhere I see around me rise the wondrous world of art;
Fountains wrought with richest sculpture standing in the common nmart.-Lo ngfellow

_ ..


dences that we seek, however, if we are visiting Nurem-
berg. We ask rather for the house of Hans Sachs, the
cobbler poet, of John Palm, the fearless patriot, who gave
his life for the privilege of beating Napoleon, and above
all we seek that quaint house where Durer lived and
worked. In choosing these as objects of our special
attention we feel like Charles I., who said, when he com-
pelled a reluctant courtier to hold Durer's ladder, "Man
can make a nobleman, but only God can make an artist.",
In our search for interesting things in old Nuremberg,
we come suddenly upon a house bearing a tablet on
which are these words, Pilate's House." At first we are
mystified, for was not Pilate's house in Jerusalem ? But
at once we recall that this is the house of the pious
Jacob Ketzet who twice visited the Holy Land that he
might measure exactly the distance from Pilate's house
to Calvary. When he was satisfied with his measure-
ments he returned to Nuremberg and commissioned the
great sculptor, Adam Kraft, to carve stations," as he
called them, between his home and St. John's Cemetery to
the northwest of the city. These "stations," which are
merely stone pillars on which are carved in relief scenes
from the sufferings of our Lord just before his death, are
still standing, and if we go to Durer's grave, as I am sure
we should wish to do, we shall pass them on our way.
The Nurembergers have long taken pride in the


quaint appearance of their city, so that many of the
newer houses are built in the old style with their gables
to the street. As we note the patriotic spirit of the
people and recount the beauties of the old city, we feel

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that Durer was warranted "in the deep love and affec-
tion that I have borne that venerable city, my father-
land," as he expressed it.
As to the time when Durer came into the world, it
was truly a wonderful age in which to live Less than
twenty-five years after his birth, Columbus found a vast
new world. People were already much agitated over the


evil practices in the old established church. Durer knew
and loved Luther and Melancthon but he was quite as
much attached to the scholarly Erasmus, who wished not
to break away from the old church, but merely to cor-
rect its abuses. In short Durer belonged to the Conser-
vative class which found it possible to accept the food in
the new doctrines and retain the pure from the old with-

. .

out revolution. Such were the citizens of Nuremberg
and thus did the ancient city as easily accept the new
doctrines as she did the morning sunshine pouring in at
her storied windows. Thus, too, were preserved the

And above cathedral doorways saints ;iid bishops carved in stone,
By a former age commissioned as apostles to our own.-Lolnfellow


ancient buildings and institutions, which, through the
wisdom of her citizens, were not called upon to with-
stand sieges and other military attacks.
Durer was above everything a true representative of
the German people, and so we ought to take note of
some of the qualities of the German mind. As Goethe,
their greatest poet, says, one of their strongest character-
istics is that of wishing to learn and to do rather than to
enjoy. The Germans love truth and they do not stop
short in their imaginings when they wish to drive it
home. So in German art, the toiling man or woman is
often accompanied by angels and demons, the equal of
which were never pictured by any other people. The
greatest extremes of beauty and ugliness have these peo-
ple given in their art. In either extreme, however,
thoughts on the deepest questions of human life are at
the foundation.
On a summer's day in 1455, there wandered into the
far-famed city of Nuremberg a young goldsmith from
Hungary. The ramparts of the city with their towers
and gateways, the splendid buildings enclosed, were like
miracles to the youth. It was a fite day in celebration
of the marriage of the son of a prominent citizen, Pirk-
heimer by name. Albrecht .Durer, for that was the
youth's name, long studied the gay throng, little think-
ing how in the future the name of his son and that of


the bridegroom there would together be known to fame,
the one as the greatest artist, the other as the most
learned man of Nuremberg. The wandering youth was
the father of our artist and the bridegroom was the
father of Wilibald Pirkheimer, Durer's life long friend
and companion.
The young goldsmith loved the city at once and,
encouraged by the business activity of the place, he
made it his permanent abode. He found employment
with Hieronymus Holper, and soon married his master's
comely daughter, Barbara. They resided in a little
house which was a sort of appendage to the great
house of Pirkheimer. A few months after a much
longed for son came to bless the Pirkheimers, a little
boy was born in the goldsmith's house whom they
named, for -his father, Albrecht Durer. As the years
went by, seventeen other children came to the Durer home.
Three only of all these children grew to maturity.
With such a family to support we can easily imagine
that the father's life was a hard one. He was a pious
and industrious man whom his illustrious son -never tires
of praising. In one place he says of him, He had a
great reputation with many who knew him, for he led
an honorable Christian life, was a patient man, gentle,
in peace with everyone and always thankful to God.
He had no desire for worldly pleasures, was of few


words, did not go into society and was a God-fearing
man. Thus my dear father was most anxious to bring
up his children to honor God. His highest wish was
that his children should be pleasing to God and man;
therefore he used to tell us every day that we should
love God and be true to our neighbors."
Durer sorrowed'deeply when his father died in 1502.
On his death-bed he commended the mother to her son.
Durer was faithful to his trust and cared tenderly for
his mother until her death, several years later. Never
did boy or man more faithfully keep the command,
"Honor thy father and mother," than did our artist.
For many reasons Albrecht seemed to be his father's
favorite child. We find him, in spite of numerous
other cares, taking great pains with the boy's education.
He taught him to read and write well and must have
given him instruction in Latin. These were years when
thirst for learning was abroad in the land. Free Latin
schools were established to meet the needs. Durer's
father was filled with this spirit and he communicated it
to his son.
As was customary at the time, the son was trained to
follow his father's trade and so he learned the gold-
smith's art in his father's shop. It is said that in his
tender years he engraved, on silver, events from Christ's
passage to Calvary. Albrecht's drawing was superior to


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that usually done in a goldsmith's shop. In his free
hours he drew to entertain his companions. After a
while he began to feel that he might paint pictures
instead of merely drawing designs for metal work. He
loved the work and so had the courage to tell his father
of his wish to become a painter. The elder Durer was
patient with the boy, regretting only that he had lost so
much time learning the goldsmith's trade. Albrecht,
then only sixteen, was surely young enough to begin his
life work His father put him to study with Wolgemut,
the foremost painter of the city, which is not high praise,
for the art of painting was then new in the prosperous
city of the Pegnitz. Wolgemut was, however, a good
engraver on wood and so perhaps was able to direct the
young apprentice in quite as valuable a line as painting.
Here Durer remained for three years, until 1490.
He was now but nineteen, full of hope and perhaps
conscious, to a certain extent, that his was no ordinary
skill of hand. He was now ready, according to the
custom of his countrymen, for his "'wanderschaft" or
journeyman period, when he should complete his art
education by going abroad to other towns to see their
ways and thus improve his own method. For four
years he traveled among neighboring towns. The evi-
dence is strong that the last year was spent in Venice.
We have little certain knowledge of where he spent


these years but we feel quite sure that one of the places
he visited was Colmar, where he became acquainted with
the artist, Martin Schougauer.
He was called home rather suddenly in 1494 by his
father, who had arranged what he thought was an
acceptable marriage for his son. A short time before
Durer had sent his father a portrait of himself in which
he figured as a remarkably handsome and well-dressed
young man. It is supposed that the father sent for this
portrait to help him along in his arrangements for the
marriage of his son. However Albrecht may have felt
about the matter of making his marriage merely a
business affair, he never expressed himself, but was
married shortly after his return to Nuremberg.
Agnes Frey, the woman selected by Durer's father, was
a handsome woman of good family with a small fortune
of her own. She has come down to us with a most
unenviable record as a scold who made life almost unen-
durable for her husband. It is now quite certain, how-
ever, that for all these years she has been grossly
misrepresented, simply because her husband's friend
Pirkheimer, for small reason, became offended with
her. It seems that in his lifetime Durer, who had
collected many curious and valuable things, had
gathered together some remarkably fine stag-horns.
One pair of these especially pleased Pirkheimer.


The widow, without knowing Pirkheimer's desire
for these, sold them for a small sum and thus brought
upon herself the anger of her husband's choleric
friend, who wrote a most unkind letter concerning
her which has been quoted from that day to this
to show how Albrecht Durer suffered in his home.
The truth seems really to be that Agnes Durer was as
sweet-tempered as the average woman, fond of her
husband and a good housekeeper.
The earlier works of Durer are largely wood-cuts, the
art which more than any other was the artist's very own.
The discussions of the times regarding religious matters
made a demand for books even at great cost. It was a
time when written and spoken words held people's
attention, but when, in addition, the text was illustrated
by strong pictures the power and reach of the books
were increased ten-fold. A place thus seemed waiting
for Albrecht Durer, the master wood-engraver.
His first great series was the Apocalypse-pictures to
illustrate the book of Revelations. Such a subject gave
Durer ample scope for the use of his imagination.
Then came the story of Christ's agony twice engraved
in small and large size. These were followed by still
another series illustrating the life of Mary. This series
was especially popular, for it glorified family life the
family life of the Germans, so worthy, so respected.


~S ~UBa.~w





To be sure, Mary is represented as a German woman
tending a dear German child. The kings who come to
adore could be found any day on the streets of
Nuremberg. The castles and churches that figure in
the backgrounds are those of medieval and renaissance
Germany. But this was Durer's method of truth speak-
ing and it appealed strongly to the people of his time as
it must to us of to-day.
In 1506, when the last series was not quite completed,
Durer went to Venice, perhaps to look after the sale of
some of his prints, but more likely because the artist
wished to work in the sunshine and art atmosphere of
the island city. While away he wrote regularly to his
friend Pirkheimer. His letters are exceedingly interest-
ing, as we learn from them much about the art society
of the time. Durer was looked upon with favor by the
Venetian government but most of the native artists were
jealous of the foreigner and not friendly. They com-
plained that his art was like nothing set down as
"correct" or classical" but still they admired it and
copied it, too, on the sly.
Gentile Bellini, the founder of the Venetian School,
was then a very old man. He was fond of Durer and
showed him many kindnesses, not the least of which was
praising him to the Venetian nobles. There is a
charming story told of Bellini's admiration of Durer's


skill in painting hair: One day, after examining care-
fully the beard of one of the saints in a picture by
Durer, he begged him to allow him to use the brush
that had done such wonderful work. Durer gladly laid
his brushes before Bellini and indicated the one he had
used. The Venetian picked it up, made the attempt to
use it but failed to produce anything unusual, where-
upon Durer took the brush wet with Bellini's own color
and painted a lock of woman's hair in so marvelous a
way that the old artist declared he would not believe it
had he not seen it done.
The most important picture Durer painted while in
Venice was the Madonna of the Rose Garlands." It
was painted for the artist's countrymen and is now in a
monastery near Prague. Durer evidently valued it
highly himself for he writes of it to Pirkheimer, My
panel would give a ducat for you to see it; it is good
and beautiful in color. I have got much praise and
little profit by it. I have silenced all the painters who
said that I was good at engraving but could not manage
color. Now everyone says that they have never seen
better coloring."
After little more than a year's sojourn in Venice, he
returned to Nuremberg. He had been sorely tempted
by an offer from the Venetian Council of a permanent
pension if he would but remain in their city. But the

URflEfl IN VE'YICE Thlobald ron Oer


ties of affection which bound him to his home city drew
him back to Nuremberg, even though he had written
while in Venice, "How cold I shall be after this sun !
Here I am a gentleman," referring indirectly to the
smaller place he would occupy at home.
Although Durer studied and enjoyed the works of the
Italian masters, there is hardly a trace of the influence
of this study in his own -works. His mind was too
strongly bent in its own direction to be easily turned
even by so powerful an influence as Venetian painting.
We are grateful indeed for the steadfast purpose of
Durer that kept his art pure German instead of diluting
it with Italian style so little adapted to harmonize with
German thought and method.
On Durer's return to Nuremberg he did some of his
best work. He painted one of his greatest pictures at
this time, All Saints." It is crowded with richly
dressed figures, while the air above is filled with an
angelic host which no one can count. In the center is
the Cross on which hangs our suffering Lord. Below,
in one corner, is Durer's unmistakable signature, which
in this case consists of a full length miniature of himself
holding up a tablet on which is this inscription, "Alber-
tus Durer of Nuremberg did it in 1511." After this
follows the renowned monogram used by the artist in
signing his works after 1496, the D enclosed in a



large A something after this style.
He then designed a very beautiful and
elaborate frame for this picture to be
carved from wood. It was adorned
with figures in relief, beautiful vine
traceries and architectural ornaments which showed
our artist master of still another national art -
It is interesting, too, to know that about this time
Durer, finding painting not so lucrative as he had hoped,
turned his attention to engraving on all sorts of hard
materials, such as ivory and hone-stone. To this period
belongs that tiny triumph of his art, the Degennoph,"
or gold plate, which contains in a circle of little more
than an inch in diameter the whole scene of the
Crucifixion carefully represented.
Through his indefatigable labors Durer's circum-
stances were now greatly improved and so he planned to
publish his works, a matter of large expense. Instead
of going to some large publishing house, as we to-day
do, Durer had a press set up in his own house. We
delight in illustrated books to-day, indeed we will hardly
have a book without pictures. Imagine then the joy
that must have been felt in this time of the scarcity of
even printed books to have those that were illustrated.
There was ready sale for all the books Durer could print.




Some prints came into Raphael's hands. He wrote a
friendly letter to the artist and sent him several of his
own drawings. In return Durer sent his own portrait,
life size, which Raphael greatly prized and at his death
bequeathed to his favorite pupil, Julio Romano.
Durer's prosperity continuing, he purchased the house
now known to fame as Albrecht Durer's House It
is still very much as it was in the artist's lifetime. Here
one may study at his leisure the kitchen and living-room
which seem as if Durer had just left them.
The artist's reputation was now fully established.
In 1509, he was made a member of the Council that
governed the city and he was granted the important
commission of painting two pictures for the relic
chamber in Nuremberg. In this room, which was in a
citizen's house, the crown jewels were kept on Easter
night, the time of their annual exhibition to the public.
Sigismund and Charlemagne were the subjects selected,
the former probably because it was he who first gave to
Nuremberg the custody of the precious jewels, and the
latter because Charlemagne was a favorite hero with the
Germans. The Charlemagne is here reproduced. In
wonderful jeweled coronation robes, with the coat of
arms of France on one side and that of Germany on the
other, he is a fine figure well suited to make us feel
Durer's power as a painter.


In 1512, there came to Nuremberg a royal visitor, no
less a personage than the Emperor Maximilian. This
was of greatest importance to Durer to whom two
important commissions came as the result of this visit.
The Emperor had no settled abode, so his travels were
important, at least to himself. He was fond of dic-
tating poems and descriptions of these travels. Durer
was asked to make wood-cuts for a book of the
Emperor's travels to consist of two parts, the one called
The Triumphal Arch and the other The Triumphal
The wood-cuts for the first were made on ninety-two
separate blocks which, when put together, formed one
immense cut ten and a half feet high by nine feet wide.
For this Durer made all the designs which were cut by a
skilled workman of the city, Hieronymus Androe. It
was while this work was going forward that the well-
known saying, A cat may look at a king," arose.
The Emperor was often at the workshop watching the
progress of the work and he was frequently entertained
by the pet cats of the wood-cutter who would come in
to be with their master.
The designs for The Triumphal Car were of the
same general style. In these Durer was assisted by
other engravers of the city. One expression of Durer's
regarding the ornamentation of the car shows him


skilled in the language of the courtier as well as in
that of the citizen. He says, "It is adorned, not
with gold and precious stones, which are the property
of the good and bad alike, but with the virtues which
only the really noble possess."
The noted Prayer Book of Maximilian was the other
work done for the Emperor. Only three of these are in
existence and of course they are almost priceless in
value. The text was illustrated by Durer on the mar-
gin in pen and ink drawings in different colored inks.
Sometimes the artist's fancy is expressed in twining vines
and flying birds and butterflies, again it is the kneeling
Psalmist listening in rapt attention to some heavenly harp-
ist, or it may be that the crafty fox beguiles the unsus-
pecting fowls with music from a stolen flute. Thus
through almost endless variety of subjects stray the
artist's thought and hand.
We have also a fine likeness of Maximilian drawn in
strong free lines by Durer at this same time. Seeing
how deft the artist was with his crayons, Maximilian took
up some pieces which broke in his hand. When asked
why it did not do so in the fingers of the artist, Durer
made the well known reply, Gracious Emperor, I would
not have your majesty draw as well as myself. I have
practised the art and it is my kingdom. Your majesty
has other and more difficult work to do."



For all this wonderful work Durer's compensation was
little more than the remission of certain taxes by the
Nuremberg Council and the promise of a small annual
pension. Maximilian's death made it doubtful whether
the pension would be paid. Durer in common with
others sought out the new Emperor, Charles V., to have
the favors granted by his predecessor confirmed.
With this in view, in 1520, the artist with his wife
and maid set out for the Netherlands. They were gone
something more than a year and a half, during which
time Durer kept a strict account of his expenses and of
his experiences and impressions throughout the journey.
Everywhere he was received with the most marked atten-
tion. He was invited to splendid feasts, and was the
recipient of all sorts of gifts. In return he gave freely
of his own precious works.
He made his headquarters at Antwerp and here he
witnessed the entry of the new monarch. The mag-
nifience of the four hundred two-storied arches erected
for the occasion impressed Durer deeply. Of the many
and varied experiences of the Nuremberger, not the least
interesting was his attempt to see a whale that had been
cast ashore in Zealand. He made all haste to see this
unusual sight and was nearly ship-wrecked in the
attempt. The exposure, too, to which he was subjected
gave rise to ills which eventually caused his death.


After all his trouble he was disappointed at his jour-
ney's end for the whale had been washed away before he
arrived. He finally accomplished the object for which
he went to the Netherlands. His pension was confirmed
and in addition he was named court painter. Ladened
with all sorts of curious things which he had collected
and with a generous supply of presents for his friends
and their wives, he started home where he arrived in
due time.
There were but seven years of life left to our painter
and these were burdened with broken health. To this
period, however, belong some of his most wonderful and
characteristic works. The very year of his return he
engraved that marvellous "IHead of an Old Man," now
in Vienna. Never were the striking qualities of age
more beautifully put together than in this head.
With about the same time we associate The Pray-
ing Hands," now also in Vienna. How an artist can
make hands express the inmost wish of the soul as these
do will always remain a mystery even to the most acute.
We have the story that they were the clasped hands of
Durer's boyhood friend who toiled for years to equal
or rival his friend in their chosen work. When, in a
test agreed upon, to Durer was given the prize, then
Hans, for that was the friend's name, prayed fervently
to be resigned to a second place. Durer caught sight


of the clasped hands and drew them so well that
wherever the name and fame of Albrecht goes there
also must go the praying hands of his friend. Whether
the story be true we cannot say, but in the hands we
have a master work to love.
At this time the new religious doctrine formed the
subject of thought everywhere. There was the most
minute searching for truth that the world has ever
known. Durer, deeply moved by the thought of the
time, put its very essence into his works. He was a
philosopher and a student of men. He saw how the
varied temperaments of men led them to think differ-
ently on the great questions of the time. Feeling this
keenly, he set to work to represent these various tem
peraments in pictured forms, a most difficult thing to do
as we can easily imagine. Perhaps his own diseased
condition led him to select as the first of these Melan-
choly,"that great brooding shadow that hovers constantly
above man, waiting only for the moment when dis-
couragement comes to fall upon and destroy its victim.
How does Durer represent this insidious and fatal
enemy? A powerful winged woman sits in despair in
the midst of the useless implements of the art of Science.
The compass in her nerveless fingers can no longer
measure, nor even time in his ceaseless flow explain, the
mysteries which crowd upon this well-nigh distraught



- ki


woman, who it seems must stand for human reason.
The sun itself is darkened by the uncanny bat which
possibly may stand for doubt and unbelief. Perhaps no
one can explain accurately the meaning of this great
engraving and therein lies the greatness, which allows
each person to interpret it to please himself.
In painting he attempted the same difficult subject of
the temperaments, in his four apostles, St. Paul and
Mark, St. John and Peter. He painted these without
charge as a sort of memorial of himself in his native
town. Two saints are painted on each panel. No
figures in art are more beautiful than the leading one
on each panel, the St. Paul on the one and the St. John
on the other. If we interpret these as regards tempera-
ment, John is the type of the melancholy, Peter of the
phlegmatic, Paul of the choleric and Mark of the
In 1526, Durer sent these pictures as a gift to the
Council of Nuremberg. It was the artist's wish that
they should always remain in the Council hall.
Notwithstanding this, only copies are now to be seen in
Nuremberg, while the originals are in Munich, carried
there by the Elector of Bavaria, who paid a good price
for them.
One other of Durer's pictures should be spoken of,
though it hardly belongs last in order of time. It is



____ ___

~II 1



really the summing up of much that he had done from
time to time all through his busy life time. This
picture, called The Knight, Death and the Devil," is
an engraving on copper. The stern, intelligent men of
the time, who were ready to face any danger in order to
bear themselves according to their notions of right, are
well represented in this splendid mounted knight.
What though Death reminds him by the uplifted hour-
glass that his life is nearly ended? or that Satan himself
stands ready to claim the Knight's soul ? There is that
in this grand horseman's face that tells of unflinching
purpose and indomitable courage to carry it out against
the odds of earth and the dark regions besides. One of
our greatest art critics says of this work, I believe I do
not exaggerate when I particularize this point as the
most important work which the fantastic spirit of
German Art has produced." A reading of Fouqu6's
"Sintram inspires us anew with the true spirit of
Durer's great work.
The gift to his natal city was Durer's last work of
note. The sickness that had been growing upon him,
which was none other than consumption, gradually
absorbed his energies and in April, 1528, he died. He
was buried in St. John's Cemetery in the lot belonging
to the Frey family. On the flat gravestone was let in a
little bronze tablet on which was a simple inscription

SI. -X A S




written by his friend Pirkheimer. A century and a half
later Sandrart, the historian of German painters, visited
the tomb, then in ruins. He caused it to be repaired
and added another inscription which has been translated
into English :--
"Rest here, thou Prince of Painters! thou who wast
better than great,
In many arts unequaled in the old time or the late.
Earth thou didst paint and garnish, and now in thy
new abode
Thou paintest the holy things overhead in the city of
And we, as our patron saint, look up to thee, ever
And crown with laurel the dust here left with us
Durer's character was one of the purest to be found
on the honor-list of the world. He bore heavy burdens
with patience and was true to his country and to himself
in the most distracting of times. He was the father of
popular illustration and the originator of illustrated
books. He was as many-sided in his genius as Da Vinci
and as prolific as Raphael, though along a different line.
That he was architect, sculptor, painter, engraver,
author and civil engineer proves the former point, while
the fact that he left a great number of signed works


satisfies us regarding the latter comparison. One who
knew him wrote of him in these words,- "If there
were in this man anything approaching to a fault it was
simply the endless industry and self-criticism which he
indulged in, often even to injustice."

In closing this sketch, nothing can so delightfully
summarize the beauty of the old town of Nuremberg
and the character of its great artist as a part of
Longfellow's poem, Nuremberg : *
In the valley of the Pegnitz, where across broad meadow-lands,
Rise the blue Franconian mountains, Nuremberg the ancient stands.
These stanzas are here reproduced by the courtesy of I-oughton, Milllin & Co., the
regular publishers of Longfellow's works.


Quaint old town of toil and traffic, quaint old town of art and song,
Memories haunt thy pointed gables like the rooks that round them throng :

Memories of the Middle Ages, when the Emperors, rough and bold,
Had their dwelling in thy castle, time defying, centuries old;

And thy brave and thrifty burghers boasted, in their uncouth rhyme,
That their great imperial city stretched its hand thro' every clime.

In the court-yard of the castle, bound with many an iron band,
Stands the mighty linden planted by Queen Cunigunde's hand;

On the square the oriel window, where in old heroic days,
Sat the poet Melchoir singing Kaiser Maximilian's praise.

Everywhere I see around me rise the wondrous world of art;
Fountains wrought with richest sculpture standing in the common mart;

And above cathedral doorways saints and bishops carved in stone,
By a former age commissioned as apostles to our own.

In the church of sainted Sebald sleeps enshrined his holy dust,
And in bronze the Twelve Apostles guard from age to age their trust;

In the church of sainted Lawrence stands a pix of sculpture rare,
Like the foamy sheaf of fountains rising through the painted air.

Here, when Art was still religion, with a simple, reverent heart
Lived and labored Albrecht Durer, the Evangelist of Art;

Hence in silence and in sorrow, toiling still with busy hand,
Like an emigrant he wandered seeking for the Better Land.

Emigravit is the inscription on the tomb-stone where he lies;
Dead he is not, but departed for the artist never dies.

Fairer seems the ancient city and the sunshine seems more fair,
That he once has trod its pavement, that he once has breathed its air!

1. A Day in Ancient Nuremberg.
2. The Churches of Nuremberg.
3. With Durer at Antwerp.
4. Durer and His Friends.
5. Durer and His Wife.
6. Durer's Stay in Venice.
7. Maximilian and the Artist.
S. Stories about Durer.
9. The Art of Wood Engraving.
10. The Fountains of Nuremberg.
11. Some Stories about St. Sebald.

"Life of Durer by Heath.
Life of Durer by Heaton.
Life of Durer" by Thansing.
Life of Durer" by Sweetser.
Art and Artists by Clement.
Durer" by Gurnsey in Harper's Magazine, Vol. 40.


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