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Introduction to the Exhibition:"Albrecht Dürer: Master Drawings, Watercolors, and Prints from the Albertina"

Andrew Robison, A.W. Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Art. To celebrate the exhibition opening of Albrecht Dürer: Master Drawings, Watercolors, and Prints from the Albertina on March 24, 2013, Andrew Robison shares that, while the artist's paintings were prized, his most influential works were executed on paper. Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) has long been considered the greatest German artist, uniquely combining the status held in Italian art by Michelangelo in the 16th century, by Raphael in the 18th and 19th centuries, and by Leonardo da Vinci in our own day. The finest collection of Dürer's drawings and watercolors is that of the Albertina in Vienna, Austria. One of the largest in the world, it is distinguished by many of the artist's most stunning masterpieces: watercolors such as The Great Piece of Turf, a sublime nature study of the Renaissance; chiaroscuro drawings such as The Praying Hands, surely the most famous drawing in the world; and the amazingly precocious silverpoint Self-Portrait at Thirteen, perhaps the earliest self-portrait drawing by any artist. On view through June 9, 2013, this groundbreaking exhibition presents 91 of the superb Dürer watercolors and drawings from the Albertina and 27 of the museum’s best related engravings and woodcuts. It also includes 19 closely related drawings and prints from the Gallery’s own collection.