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The outstanding artist Albrecht Durer was born in the Imperial City of Nuremberg, in the Holy Roman Empire on May 1471. He was the third child of a large family, with about 18 siblings. Hans Durer, the artist's brother, also became a painter and his pupil. A lot of information about his life can be found since Durer documented his experiences in journals and became quite famous for his craft around his mid-twenties. His father, Albrecht Durer the Elder and his godfather, Anton Koberger, were both goldsmiths. Some attribute the artists work with metal etching to this. Koberger eventually gave up on the profession to pursue a career with publishing in 1471 and became the most successful German publisher. He would later on work with his godson, Durer, who contributed with some woodcut print illustrations for his most famous publication from 1493 called Nuremberg Chronicle.
As a young man, Durer began learning to draw with his father, along with the basics of working with precious metals so that he could follow in the family business. But his talent from drawing was imminent from the start and in 1486, at only fifteen, Durer began to study with the leading artist of his city, Michael Wolgemut. His teacher worked with a variety of techniques and specialized in woodcut prints for book publishing. In 1490, Durer completed his apprenticeship and spent about four years traveling to learn under other artists, beginning with Martin Schongauer - who passed away in 1492. He traveled extensively during this time, possibly to locations like the Netherlands, Frankfurt, and Basel. By 1493, Durer was in Strasbourg and came in contact with sculptures by Nikolaus Gerhaert.
During his period abroad, Durer’s family was arranging his marriage with Agnes Frey which happened on July 1494. The couple never had children and documents show Durer wasn’t too fond of his wife. Some historians speculate Durer was homosexual or bisexual, like many other painters of the Renaissance, like Leonardo da Vinci. A few months after his union with Frey, the artist traveled to Italy where he studied German printing techniques like woodcuts and drypoint on metal plates under the teaching of Wolgemut. Durer was influenced by the prints of Schongauer, as well as the Italian artists Andrea Mantegna and Lorenzo di Credi. He eventually traveled over the Alps where he created many watercolor sketches of the landscape.
In 1495, Durer returned to his hometown where he opened a studio - a part of the family agreement in which he was required to be married to do so. The artist produced his best woodcut works, including the series entitled Apocalypse from 1498 with masterpieces like St. Michaels Fight Against the Dragon. Religious themes were Durer’s main subjects during this period, portraying saints, Madonnas, as well as the Holy family. The artist also concluded many artworks and studies of animal anatomy. He became an acquaintance to other amazing painters like Leonardo da Vinci, Giovanni Bellini, and Raphael. In 1512, Durer reached the peak of his career when Emperor Maximilian I became his main patron. By the time of the Emperor's death, Durer was suffering from what seems symptoms of arthritis. He continued working, but much less because of his health. Durer passed away at 56 on April 1528 in his hometown.