Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471-1528)
Female Nude with a Staff, 1498
Pen and dark brown ink on paper 12 3/16 in. x 8 11/16 in. (30.96 cm x 22.07 cm)
Crocker Art Museum, E. B. Crocker Collection1871.3
One of the most important painters and printmakers in the history of German art, Albrecht Dürer was born in Nurem- berg in 1471. His restless intellect was developed by his train- ing under the painter Michael Wolgemut, who also designed woodcuts for a variety of books, including the Nuremberg Chronicle. By the mid-1490s, Dürer’s desire for knowledge took him to Venice, where he was introduced to Italian paint- ing and ancient sculpture. From this point on, he combined a keen eye for detail and human experience with a new view of man and his ideals, qualities perhaps expressed best in his 1504 engraving of Adam and Eve.
Dürer’s self-portraits and his three famous Master Engrav- ings of The Knight, Death and the Devil, Saint Jerome in his Study, and Melencolia I, are further expressions of an intellect that produced a revolutionary treatise on human proportion before his death in 1528. The first drawing by Dürer to enter an American collection, the Female Nude with a Staff reflects the concerns of the artist in the years after his return from Italy, where he had been exposed to the nude as a subject in its own right, especially in ancient sculpture. The artist posed his model with a staff similar to the one he had employed in his small engraving of Fortune two years before.