Self Portrait1500 by Albrecht Dürer
The Christ-like self-portrait above was painted in 1500, shortly before Dürer's 29th birthday. The painting was made in oil on a wooden panel, and is now in the collection of the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. Unlike his earlier self portraits, which were composed in the customary three-quarters view, Dürer's self portrait of 1500 depicts the artist faced squarely toward the viewer -- a pose usually reserved at that time for images of Christ. His hand, touching the fur collar of his coat, brings to mind the gestures of blessing in religious icons. The highly symmetric composition draws attention to the eyes, which gaze directly at the viewer. The artist's monogram, "AD," and the Latin inscription "I, Albrecht Dürer of Nuremberg, portrayed myself in everlasting colors aged twenty-eight years," are placed at eye-level to strengthen the effect. The year "1500" is written directly above the monogram, giving the "AD" a second meaning as Anno Domini, which further reinforces the connection between Dürer and Christ. The art historian Joseph Koerner has suggested that the entire composition, from the triangular outline of the frontal likeness to the curve of Dürer's fingers, echoes the overarching "A" and nestled "D" of the artist's monogram. "Nothing we see in a Dürer is not Dürer's," writes Koerner, "monogram or not."
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