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Exhibition in Madrid: DURERO & CRANACH: Art and Humanism in Renaissance Germany

Art - Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Exhibition in Madrid: DURERO & CRANACH: Art and Humanism in Renaissance Germany
Opening the autumn season in Madrid, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and Fundación Caja Madrid are presenting an ambitious exhibition that reveals the richness and variety within German Renaissance art. This school had its own identity, distinct from both the Flemish and Italian models, although closely related. The exhibition is organised within the framework of the long-term agreement between the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and Fundación Caja Madrid, which covers exhibitions as well as educational and other types of activities. The main focus of the agreement is the organisation of exhibitions that are shown divided between the two institutions, allowing for large-scale events of this kind.

Durero y Cranach. Arte y Humanismo en la Alemania del Renacimiento 
offers a survey of German art from the late 15th to the mid-16th centuries and focuses on two of the greatest artists of the period, Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) and Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553), and to a lesser extent Hans Baldung Grien (1485-1545) and Albrecht Altdorfer (ca.1480-1538). Also included are works by other significant painters who were influenced by these leading artists. The exhibition looks at a period in art history and a group of artists that are rarely the subject of exhibitions in Spain.

One of the exhibition’s principal aims and attractions is that of offering a global perspective on German Renaissance art, both with regard to the wide variety of different media in which artists worked and the importance that each enjoyed at the time, as well as the role that art played in the political and religious changes that came about during this turbulent period. With this aim in mind, the exhibition includes paintings, drawings, intaglio prints and woodcuts (the latter reflecting the importance of the invention of printing for the dissemination of knowledge), designs, decorative works of art, armour, and military and hunting weapons. Taken together, they offer an idea not just of the art of the time but also of religion, society and politics in a period that witnessed major transformations brought about by the Reformation and the birth of the great international empires.

The exhibition covers a period of major changes and social and political conflicts, all of which were reflected in art and emphasises the contradictory co-existence of different artistic and cultural options. On the one hand these offered a measured and controlled image of reality whose greatest expression is to be found in some aspects of the work of Dürer (above all in his theoretical writings). This option contrasted with the desire to represent the world in a state of conflict and drama, characteristic of artists such as Altdorfer, Grünewald, and Cranach and even Dürer himself in series such as The Apocalypse.

The exhibition also highlights and analyses two very different functions of the work of art. While the first part of the exhibition focuses on its aesthetic role, in the second it shows how the image – without losing its aesthetic value - could acquire more practical and functional characteristics associated with religion, the depiction of political power and war.

Further information

Durero y Cranach. Arte y Humanismo en la Alemania del Renacimiento




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