Durer was a German Renaissance artist who lived in the late 15th and early 16th century and who was an outstanding draughtsman and engraver. He lived in a Germany that was in turmoil as a result of religious struggles and marked by Luther’s Reformation, which caused not only the pillars of religion to tremble, but also politics itself. Durer himself converted to Lutheranism.

Durer was very fond of self-portraits and it was a genre that was very common among Italian painters. Proof of this is that the artist produced several, all of which were highly modern in style. The one we can see here at the Prado follows the precepts of Italian portraiture, showing the figure’s half-body and a landscape in the background, as if seen through a window. The artist painted himself dressed in elegant clothing and with gloved hands, to indicate his refinement and his comfortable financial and social position. His long, curly hair and deep gaze, looking straight at the viewer, are reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci’s portraits.

Underneath the window is a signed inscription, dated 1498, that reads: I made this according to my appearance when I was twenty-six years of age”.

(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Catalina Serrano Romero
English translation (a) Thisbe Burns