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Dürer Show Opens at the Clark

Now - March 13, 2011
Rural Intelligence ArtsAlbrecht Dürer, The Beast with Two Horns Like a Lamb from The Apocalypse, c. 1496-97.

Once again, the Clark in Williamstown injects “world class” into the local arts bloodstream with its new exhibition, The Strange World of Albrecht Dürer.  Considered by many to be the greatest German artist of all time, Dürer (1471 – 1528) was celebrated during his lifetime as a painter, printmaker, and writer. His innovative techniques revolutionized printmaking, and his theoretical writings transformed the study of human proportion. Deeply embedded in a tumultuous era of religious reformation and scientific inquiry, Dürer used his art to reflect the spiritual and social preoccupations of his time.  This exhition, which is comprised of seventy-five powerful prints, all from The Clark collection, is the first comprehensive display of these works in more than thirty-five years.  It explores Dürer’s literally fantastic and fertile imagination, and sheds light on why his visionary exploration of enduring themes—The Apocalypse, Symbolic Space, Battle and Anguish, Gender Anxiety, and Enigma—remains relevant to this day.  Originally published as a book in 1498, this series of woodcuts echoed the anxieties of a generation during which prophesies of impending doom circulated widely and were encouraged by the sixteenth-century European Christian Church. An original bound copy of the series on loan from the Chapin Library at Williams College is included in the exhibition.  Today, these prints maintain their dramatic impact, tapping into our fascination with religious tension and our fear of the beasts that dwell between the realm of the real and unreal.

The Clark’s collection of more than 300 Dürer prints is among the finest in North America. The bulk of the collection was acquired in 1968 from the collection of Tomás Joseph Harris, a scholar, artist, and art dealer who had served in the British Intelligence during the Second World War. The seventy-five prints included in the exhibition represent the best of the Clark’s Dürer’s holdings: Hercules (1496), the Apocalypse series (1496–1498), Nemesis (c. 1502), Knight, Death and the Devil (1513), Melencolia I (1514), and others.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
225 South Street
Williamstown, MA
Admission: free/November -May.

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