DURER'S HOUSE, NUREMBERG.
ALBRECHT DURER AND HIS CITY
"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."
 In our study of the great artists so far, we have found that each
glorified some particular city and that, whatever 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 precincts.
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,
Durerís 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 Durer.
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 mediśval 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
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. Perhaps the most
interesting of the early wares of this enterprising city were the watches.
The first made in the world were manufactured 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 Durerís
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
 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.
Sebaldís, 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.
SHRINE OF ST. SEBALD, NUREMBERG.
Within the city are some of the most beautiful buildings 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 Lawrence.
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.
THE CIBORIUM (PYX) CHURCH OF ST. LAWRENCE.
Church doorways are carved with beautiful and fantastic 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 elsewhere. Here it is the Beautiful Fountain, gay with
sculptures of heroes and saints, and there it is the Little Goosemanís
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.
THE BEAUTIFUL FOUNTAIN IN NUREMBERG.
if we seek for more modern things we are also rewarded, for here in Durer
Square stands Rauchís great statue of the artist, copied from Durerís
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.
DOORWAY IN ST. SEBALD'S CHURCH, NUREMBERG.
Here, too, are many fine old houses which used to belong to noblemen of
the city. It is not these
resi-  dences that we seek, however, if we
are visiting Nuremberg. 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 compelled a reluctant
courtier to hold Durerís 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, "Pilateís House."
At first we are mystified, for was not Pilateís 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
Pilateís house to Calvary. When he was satisfied with his measurements
he returned to Nuremberg and commissioned the great sculptor, Adam Kraft,
to carve "stations," as he called them, between his home and St. Johnís
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 Durerís
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 that Durer was
warranted "in the deep love and affection that I have borne that venerable
city, my fatherland," as he expressed it.
DORMER WINDOW ON THE BISHOP'S HOUSE, NUREMBERG.
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
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 correct its
abuses. In short Durer belonged to the Conservative class which found it
possible to accept the food in the new doctrines and retain the pure from
the old without 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
 ancient buildings and institutions, which, through
the wisdom of her citizens, were not called upon to withstand 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 characteristics
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 people given in their art. In either extreme, however, thoughts on
the deepest questions of human life are at the foundation.
On a summerís 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 fÍte day in celebration of the marriage
of the son of a prominent citizen, Pirkheimer by name. Albrecht Durer, for
that was the youthís name, long studied the gay throng, little thinking 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, Durerís
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 masterís 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 goldsmithís
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 fatherís 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 fatherís favorite child. We find
him, in spite of numerous other cares, taking great pains with the boyís
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. Durerís
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 fatherís
trade and so he learned the goldsmithís art in his fatherís shop. It is
said that in his tender years he engraved, on silver, events from Christís
passage to Calvary. Albrechtís drawing was superior to
 that usually
done in a goldsmithís 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 goldsmithís 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 evidence is strong that the last year was spent
in Venice. We have little certain knowledge of where he spent
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 Durerís 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 unendurable for her
husband. It is now quite certain, however, that for all these years she has
been grossly misrepresented, simply because her husbandís 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
 The widow, without knowing Pirkheimerís desire
for these, sold them for a small sum and thus brought upon herself the
anger of her husbandís 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 artistís 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 peopleís 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 Christís 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.
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 mediśval and renaissance Germany. But this was Durerís method
of truth speaking 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 interesting, 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 complained that his art was like nothing set down as
"correct" or "classical" but still they admired it and copied it, too, on
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 Belliniís admiration of Durerís
 skill in painting hair:
One day, after examining carefully 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, whereupon Durer
took the brush wet with Belliniís own color and painted a lock of womanís
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 artistís 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
After little more than a yearís 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
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.
DURER IN VENICE.
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
On Durerís 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 Durerís unmistakable signature,
which in this case consists of a full length miniature of himself holding
up a tablet on which is this inscription, "Albertus 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—wood-carving.
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 Durerís circumstances 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 Raphaelís 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.
Durerís prosperity continuing, he purchased the house now known to fame as
"Albrecht Durerís House." It is still very much as it was in the artistís
lifetime. Here one may study at his leisure the kitchen and living-room
which seem as if Durer had just left them.
The artistís 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 citizenís 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 Durerís 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 dictating poems and descriptions of these travels. Durer was asked
to make wood-cuts for a book of the Emperorís travels to consist of two parts,
the one called The Triumphal Arch and the other The Triumphal Car.
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 Andrś. 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 Durerís
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 margin in pen and ink
drawings in different colored inks. Sometimes the artistís fancy is expressed
in twining vines and flying birds and butterflies, again it is the kneeling
Psalmist listening in rapt attention to some heavenly harpist, or it may be
that the crafty fox beguiles the unsuspecting fowls with music from a stolen
flute. Thus through almost endless variety of subjects stray the artistís
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 Durerís compensation was little more than
the remission of certain taxes by the Nuremberg Council and the promise of
a small annual pension. Maximilianís 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
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 attention. 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 magnificence 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 journeyís 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 "Head of an Old Man," now in Vienna. Never were
the striking qualities of age more beautifully put together than in this
HEAD OF AN OLD MAN.
With about the same time we associate "The Praying 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 Durerís 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 friendís 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 differently
on the great questions of the time. Feeling this keenly, he set to work
to represent these various temperaments 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 "Melancholy," that great brooding shadow
that hovers constantly above man, waiting only for the moment when
discouragement 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
 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.
ST. GEORGE AND THE DRAGON.
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 temperament, John is the type
of the melancholy, Peter of the phlegmatic, Paul of the choleric and Mark of
ST. JOHN AND ST. PETER.
In 1526, Durer sent these pictures as a gift to the Council of Nuremberg. It
was the artistís 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.
ST. MARK AND ST. PAUL.
One other of Durerís pictures should be spoken of, though it hardly belongs
last in order of time. It is
 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 hourglass that his life is nearly ended? or that Satan himself
stands ready to claim the Knightís soul? There is that in this grand
horsemanís 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
Fouquťís "Sintram" inspires us anew with the true spirit of Durerís
THE KINGHT, DEATH AND THE DEVIL.
The gift to his natal city was Durerís 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. Johnís Cemetery in the lot belonging to the Frey family.
On the flat gravestone was let in a little bronze tablet on which was a
 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 God.
And we, as our patron saint, look up to thee, ever will,
And crown with laurel the dust here left with us still."
Durerís 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."
STATUE OF ALBRECHT DURER, NUREMBERG.
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
Longfellowís poem, Nuremberg:
In the valley of the Pegnitz, where across broad meadow-lands,
Rise the blue Franconian mountains, Nuremberg the ancient stands.
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 throí every clime.
In the court-yard of the castle, bound with many an iron band,
Stands the mighty linden planted by Queen Cunigundeís hand;
On the square the oriel window, where in old heroic days,
Sat the poet Melchoir singing Kaiser Maximilianís 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!
SUBJECTS FOR LANGUAGE WORK.
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. Durerís Stay in Venice.
7. Maximilian and the Artist.
8. Stories about Durer.
9. The Art of Wood Engraving.
10. The Fountains of Nuremberg.
11. Some Stories about St. Sebald.
SPECIAL REFERENCES FOR ALBRECHT DURER.
"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 Harperís Magazine, Vol. 40.