The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

May 21, 2017

May 21, 1471

The artist Albrecht Dürer (May 21, 1471 to April 6, 1528) left his Nuremberg home to visit Italy, the center of cultural accomplishment, as a youth, and he was thrilled not just by the art. He wrote to a friend (about 1495) ...[how] impressed and gratified [he was] by the elevated social status granted to great artists. In Germany he had been looked down upon as a lowly craftsman. “How I shall freeze after this sun!” Dürer wrote. “Here I am a gentleman, at home only a parasite."

[That was almost a decade before] Dürer’s famous 1504 engraving “Adam and Eve.” [in which there are] Eve’s feet ...animals representing humors and temperaments, now doomed to be forever off kilter: the elk (“melancholic gloom”); the rabbit (“sanguine sensuality”); the cat (“choleric cruelty”); and the ox (“phlegmatic sluggishness”).  

The gloss is from the New York Times.

Of course Durer was famous before that print, even though it was not until 1517 that he started receiving a pension from the Holy Roman Emperor. The Bohemian artist type did not begin in Europe until the ascendency of the European middle class. Durer's genius was actually seen and rewarded from his youth.

No comments: