Monday, July 23, 2012

Artist AND entrepreneur – an inspiring visit to the exhibition “The Early Dürer”

Welcome to another installment of the KidLit Artists series on inspiration! This time Andrea Offermann shares an account of an inspirational visit to a museum.

poster of the exhibition
I noticed lately that where I lack inspiration sometimes is on the business side of things. As a freelancer it is so important to stay connected and make sure your work is seen. A new spark of enthusiasm hit me in an unlikely place: I visited Nuremberg to see the exhibition “The Early Dürer” at the “Germanisches Nationalmuseum”. I was expecting to be inspired by the art, but was completely surprised that this exhibition would also hold a lot of encouragement for the freelance artist.

view of the display of The Apokalypse inside the gallery
Let me say this much in advance: I entered the exhibition at 11 am, and when I left it and asked one of the guards why it was so empty all of a sudden, he answered “because it’s closing time”. I had spent the entire day – until 6pm – just going through this exhibition, and I had not even realized how time had passed.

Dürers paintings and drawings - among them the beautiful portrait of Elsbeth Tucher is on display - are simply incredible to see in person. To study his use of color, line and composition by viewing the original art was a
Portrait of Elsbeth Tucher by Albrecht Dürer
true treat. His thrive to study nature and prefect his representation of minuscule details such as a simple rock blew me away.

 Apart from this I was very impressed by the careful way in which the curators placed all his works in context, showing work from other artists, some of them Dürer’s teachers, to give an idea of the art scene, interests, possibilities and style ideas at the time.

But the aspect that took me completely by surprise was a nod to Dürer’s great entrepreneurship and his idea of copyright protection. Apparently he was one of the first artists to sign all his work, always, prominently and consistently. 

signature on Christ by Albrecht Dürer
He was interested in new technology and making it work for him. His idea of creating inexpensive woodblock prints made his art accessible for many more people, brought in a steady income and helped his fame grow. Dürer seems to have been an artist who lived for his art but was also proud of earning a living for himself and his family through his art. It was very inspiring and encouraging to see his bold aknowledgement and use of the business side, and the smart ways in which he was marketing his work.  

Here's to all of us being inspired to create wonderful art, but also find new and interesting ways to present it to the world and earn a living with it!

woodcut The four Riders of the Apokalypse by Albrecht Dürer

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