Nuremberg’s Historical Mile is a string of architectural and artistic landmarks and a key stop along the way is the Albrecht Dürer Haus. As a memorial to Germany’s “most famous Renaissance draughtsman”, it’s also, amazingly, one of the few buildings of the medieval city centre that survived the extensive bombing in 1945.
A painter, graphic artist and theoretician, Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) was internationally known for his woodcuts and engravings, and benefited from the fact that Nuremberg, in its economic and cultural heyday at the time, was the centre for the printing trade and for different types of metal-work.
His once-residence and workplace now serves as a museum and visitors can tour the master’s recreated painting and printing workshops and watch demonstrations of historic artistic techniques. Though few originals and copies of his graphic works are on display, multimedia ‘kiosks’ illustrate a gallery of his works of art including: religious pieces, portraits, landscape sketches, and such infamous watercolours as Young Hare (Junger Feldhase) and Praying Hands. Tours are complemented by audio guides in which the speaker represents his wife, Agnes, describing everyday life in her husband’s household (frankly, a teensy bit eerie).
There’s no escaping Dürer’s presence in this, his home city, particularly in the Old Town. A larger-than life statue of him towers in Albrecht-Dürer-Platz and a bronze sculpture of a hare, a reference to the artist’s painting, Junger Feldhase, appears to quash a human foot, perhaps alluding to the “dire results of tampering with nature.” More recently, Italian designer Alessandro Mendini paid a tribute to the artist with the sculpture Il Cavaliere di Dürer (The Knight of Dürer) at the Neues Museum in Nuremberg this past summer (see post).