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was on St. Aloysius' Day (25th of June), the same day that Philip Pirkheimer was married, and his wedding celebrated in the finest way, with a great dance under the lime-trees.'
The elder Dürer seems to have served for many years subsequent to his arrival in Nuremberg under old Jeremy Haller the goldsmith. In the year 1467 Haller gave him his daughter to wife. This was a step upwards on the social ladder for Dürer, as the Hallers were ainong the best burgher families of the town, while on the mother's side, the bride could boast of something more than even burgher blood: and the marriage seems to have been a happy one, though there was a great disparity of years between the pair: Barbara Haller had been only three years of age when the Hungarian apprentice came to her father's house, and she was now, as her son informs us, "a tall • fair girl, fifteen years of age.' 'Let it be known,' he goes on to say, “my father did with his spouse beget the following • children ;' and then follows a list of the eighteen children with which this union was blessed; but we will readers the enumeration of their respective names, sponsors, and dates of birth, It was on St. Prudentia’s Day, May 20th, 1471, that a second son was born to Albert and Barbara Dürer. He received his father's name at baptism, and received it from Antony Koberger, the great printer of the day. Of the other children Dürer writes :
Now, of this brotherhood, children of my dear father, all are dead : some in childhood, some as they grew up; but three brothers remain to live as long as God willeth—namely, I, Albert, Andreas, and Hans.'
Both these brothers survived the great artist: Andreas to inherit his brother's property and works of art, and Hans or John Durer to become court painter to the king of Poland: his name we are accustomed to hear attached (but erroneously 80) to a portrait in the Pinacothek at Munich, painted by Albert. There is something of mournful interest in Dürer's reference to his parent's struggles, and his own early recollections, related in his own simple language:
* Item.—The life of this Albert Dürer the elder was spent in great trouble and in hard labour; he had no other means of subsistence than that which he, his wife, and his children could gain by the work of their own hands; and in this way he had often little enough. He endured likewise much sorrow, many temptations, and manifold adversities. But he won also, from as many as were conversant with him, just praise and commendation ; for he led an honoured and a Christian life, was a man patient of spirit, peaceable with his fellows, and thankful towards God. He drew to himself little of this world's joy, being of rare and unfrequent speech. He went little into company, and kept the fear of the Lord ever before his eyes. This dear father used great diligence with his children to rear them for the glory of God. His highest wish was, that they, being brought up in all discipline, might be in favour with God and man. On this wise came his word unto us daily, that we should love God and deal fairly with our neighbours.'
Albert goes on to say that in him more than in any other of his children the father took his delight: and no one seeing the portrait which the boy drew of himself at the age of thirteen, can wonder that the father should delight in the pale sweet face, of which the delicate oval is partly shaded, partly defined, by the long fair hair which falls on his shoulders.
Besides,' says Albert, referring in his grave manhood to these early recollections, 'my father saw that I learnt and practised eagerly :'
'he allowed me to be placed at school, and as soon as I could read and write be took me home to himself again, and taught me in the goldsmith's craft. But now, when I could work pretty fairly, my mind drew me far more to painting than to working in gold and silver. This I laid before my father. He was not well pleased at it, and for this cause, that it repented him of the time first lost by me in learning the goldsmith's trade ; yet he yielded the point to me, and in the year 1486, on St. Andrew's day, bound me apprentice to Meister Michael Wohlgemuth to serve him for the space of three years. In all that time God gave me diligence to learn well, but in the mean Season I had much to suffer from his creatures.'
Dürer is silent as to much of his education; the extent of his classical acquirements is a question we are no more able to solve than we are to define the amount of knowledge acquired at the grammar-school of Stratford-on-Avon by young William Shakspeare. Dürer's familiarity with mythology appears in his works and his many symbolical pieces. That he wrote Latin inscriptions and loved to Latinise his sentences, is equally eertain; how or when the craftsman's son attained this knowledge he does not tell us; and he is equally uncommunicative as to his earliest artistic tuition: and this is a point on which doctors disagree. Scheurl and others contend that his father had selected Martin Schön for his first master, and that Albert was to have been sent to study under that veteran artist. Bayle, on the contrary, copying from Melchior Adam, says, “That 'having made some essays with the pencil in the shop of his 'father, he associated himself with a mediocre painter named Martin Hupse, who taught him to engrave on copper, and to “handle the brush.'. However this may be, there is no doubt as to the term of his apprenticeship with Wohlgemuth, traces of
whose style remained in Dürer's manner. Wohlgemuth was also an engraver on wood, and the principal illustrator of that extraordinary work, the Nuremberg Chronicle." Some of his detached wood engravings are now very rare.
He died in 1516, and his portrait, the work of his great pupil, still adorns the walls of the Munich gallery.
In 1489 began for Dürer those • Wanderjähre,' those years of travel, which form so important a part of the German student's life:
“My father sent me abroad,' says Dürer, and I remained four years absent, till he summoned me again. As I had gone forth at Easter 1489, so now at Whitsuntide 1494 I came back to my family, and found Hans Frey in treaty with my father, he giving me his daughter, Mistress Agnes, to wife, and with her 200 crowns.'
For this sum Albert Dürer the painter was sold at the age of twenty-three; and this is the laconic record he has left of the transaction—'Our wedding was held on the Monday falling • before St. Margaret's Day, 1494.' A novel of Scheffer's bas, within the last few years, brought the temper and domestic arrangements of Agnes Dürer (geborne Freyin) into undesirable celebrity. She was sulky, quarrelsome, avaricious, • domineering, stupid, and proud,' says one of her husband's biographers. They seem hardly to have overcoloured the picture, and it was a subject of common remark at the time, not only among the intimate friends of the painter, but more widely, for Dr. John Valentin André, writing to Prince Anton Ulrich of Brunswick says of Dürer, that he was very ill married, and always poor, in spite of living with the greatest frugality. Perhaps Agnes had not the generosity to forget that it was her money which first supplied the household wants. Her husband, in one of his letters, calls her his account mistress,' and complains in another place that she looked upon his art very much as she would on a milch cow, and prized it only for what it brought in. The numerous portraits and studies of her face to be found among Dürer's works, show that in her youth she undoubtedly possessed personal attractions. It is said that she repeatedly served as the model for his Madonnas: but another face had apparently, at some time, crossed the painter's dreams. There is extant a sketeh of a woman's head and bust, the face slightly averted; and underneath it, with Dürer's monogram, the words, “My Augusta.' Another sketch represents a woman in Nüremberg costume passing into a church; the inscription on the drawing besides the painter's name, consists of the words from Scripture, “Remember me when thou comest into thy
• kingdom.' The date is 1508, after his return from Italy. Whose prayers did Albert ask with the dumb strength of his manhood? We cannot tell: for this is no hackneyed love story of a Fornarina: two brown leaves the sole record that remains of it: but we can fancy that face confronting Albert again on the confines of another world: its beauty grown awful, like the countenance of Beatrice, when she stood with outstretched hand upon the shining stairs, and Dante stammered his feeble · Yes,' in reply to her greeting.
We must now consider Dürer as a householder in Nüremberg: he had not yet brought himself into any great distinction by his works; and one of the most remarkable pictures of this period may be considered to be the portrait of his father, painted in 1499, and in the seventieth year of the old man's life. It is now in Munich, having come into the possession of the Elector of Bavaria through the dishonesty of one Küffner, a painter, who, when employed to make a copy of it, sawed out the panel, sold the original, and left his own performance in the Castle of Nüremberg. There is reason to believe that a duplicate of this picture was in the collection of Charles I. at Whitehall. Kugler states that the oldest undoubted picture by Dürer known to us is his own portrait of the year 1498, to be seen in the Florentine collection of artists' portraits painted by themselves in the Uffizi, and he suggests that this is probably the portrait of Dürer which was presented to King Charles I. of England by the city of Nüremberg, and sold in the collection of that sovereign. But Kugler does not seem to have been aware that a replica of this portrait, with equal claims to originality, exists in the Royal Gallery at Madrid (No. 972 in the Catalogue). The treatment is almost identical with that of the Florentine picture, and it bears the following lines :
Das mach ich nach meiner Gestalt,
1498 A. D.' Philip IV. of Spain was one of the principal purchasers at the sale of the pictures of Charles I. It is, therefore, highly probable that the Albert Dürer portrait came into the Spanish royal galleries from London; and that this, and not the Florentine picture, is the identical work presented by the city of Nüremberg to Charles I.
Dürer's portraits are always successful, and never fail to convey the most vivid impression of the persons they represent; whether the subject be his own melancholy face, so pensive in youth, so stately in mature manhood, or the grave Pirkheimer, or the sturdy burgher Holzschüher, the intrepid Luther, the pensive Melanchthon, the wise Erasmus, or some beauty of the day, some Katerina Fürlegerin, smiling at us across three centuries, through the tangles of her marvellous hair, we feel that in every case he has given us the whole truth concerning them His genial sympathy was the gift that enabled him to divine it: his unselfish simplicity enabled him to set it forth : both these qualities endeared him to his fellow men, while with some the bonds of friendship were drawn very close.
No attachment of Dürer's life was more lasting than that which subsisted between himself and Wilibald Pirkheimer. The notice of Philip Pirkheimer's marriage, in a former page of the memoir, leads us to believe that the connexion between the families was hereditary, but their personal acquaintance began in 1497. Dr. Campe has preserved for us some of the confidential letters which passed between them-one written by Dürer from Venice may serve as a specimen :
• My willing service to you, my dear sir, and I wish from all my heart that you were as I am. In the mean time, my mother has written to me, and scolds me for not writing to you. She gives me to understand that you have me in displeasure by reason of this my not writing. She bids me excuse myself to you, and is much troubled on your account. I know nothing in answer to this, but that I am lazy in writing, and knew that you were not at home. I beg you to forgive me, as I have no other friend on earth like yourself. I did not indeed believe that you were angry with me, for I look on you as nothing less than a father. I would that you were here in Venice. There are many pleasant fellows among these Italians, who the longer I am with them always please me more. It goes to one's heart to hear how well they play the lute. There are many right noble and virtuous people who show me much friendship. To set against this, there are among them several of the most lying and thievish rogues: the like of them does not, I believe, exist any where else upon earth. I have sundry good friends, who warn me, that I among these artists have many enemies: men who say that it is not "antique art,” and therefore not good. But Gian Bellini has praised me before many gentle. men, saying that he would gladly have something of mine. Indeed, he came to me himself, and begged me to paint something for him, as he would pay me well for the same. Every one tells me here that he is a pious man, so I am equally friendly with him. He is very old, but still the best at painting.'
The letter goes on to say, that the things which eleven years before had pleased Dürer now pleased him no longer. From this phrase we gather that Italy had been included in the countries he visited during his Wanderjähre. Here we see, too, the progress of the artist's mind.
So it must always be -- only the