Albrecht DurerGermany 1471-1528
The Visitation OP 269
Around 1504, Dürer began a great series of woodcuts, this one depicting the life of the Virgin, twenty scenes in all. This print depicts the visit by Mary to her cousin Elizabeth just after the Annunciation (Luke 1). In Gothic art the women in this scene are usually depicted bowing to each other, in Renaissance art, they embrace. The scene takes place in front of Elizabeth's house, with Elizabeth's husband, the high priest Zacharias, coming to greet her. A supreme master of the graphic arts and the greatest artist of the northern Renaissance, Dürer was the son of a Nuremberg goldsmith. After his apprenticeship he traveled to Italy to study contemporary Venetian painting. The patronage of Emperor Maximilian assured his success, as did Dürer's prolific output of prints to a mass market all over Europe. Dürer's extraordinary facility as a draftsman, combined with the intensity of his expression, and his awareness of the possibilities of the printing press resulted in the elevation of the woodcut and the engraving to high art.
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