Best of early-March art: A Renaissance master
Published March 4 2015, The Copenhagen Post
Enter the world of Renaissance art where symbols of power, tales of war, beautiful ornaments and fabulous beasts mingle together in this awe-inspiring work by one of history’s most famous prodigies.
As the world’s largest Renaissance woodcut and also one of the largest prints ever produced, Albrecht Dürer’s ‘Arch of Honour’ (German: ‘Die Ehrenpforte’) is an undisputed masterpiece.
The German painter, engraver, printmaker, mathematician and theorist from Nürnberg, whose genius was discovered at the age of 13 and who went on to be called the polymath star of the Northern European Renaissance before the age of 30, transformed the woodcut medium from semi-folk art to fine art with his unprecedented skill.
Commissioned by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I who was inspired by the triumphal arches of the caesarea, the 16th century woodcut is part of a series of three huge prints (the others being the Triumphal Procession and Large Triumphal Carriage), which together were described by art historian Hyatt Mayor as “Maximilian’s program of paper grandeur".
It is suspected that the multi-sheet prints were designed for propaganda purposes and were hand-coloured. However only a few editions with contemporary colouring survive today.
The SMK’s first exhibition of 2015 invites you to take an in-depth look at this work, which is one of the absolute highlights of 16th century graphic art.