- Art Education
The exhibition “Dürer was here. A journey becomes legend” opens on 7th October 2020 in the Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum – 500 years to the day since the Renaissance star arrived in Aachen. His particular reason for coming here? A coronation, of course. His general reason for the whole year he spent travelling from Nuremberg to the coast of the Netherlands? Money. Or so the story goes. So, the artist who rose to widespread fame on an unprecedented scale through prints of his stunningly adroit copperplate engravings – the “trademarked” master with his world-famous “AD” monogram – actually hit the road with his eyes firmly fixed on filthy lucre?
This exhibition, organised in collaboration with the National Gallery in London, offers a precise – and fresh – look at the so-called “Journey to the Netherlands” (1520/21). An enigmatic journey to whose legendary character the painting and drawing genius himself contributed his own share – in writing a diary, a kind of accounts book with travel notes.
100 masterpieces (about 65 drawings and paintings along with 35 prints) bear testimony to Dürer’s exceptional artistry – even while on the move, without his own studio. A complement of about 40 drawings, paintings and sculptures by contemporary artists Dürer met underway – artists who were inspired by him and who inspired him – round the exhibition off into an artistic-, cultural- and social-historical “full picture” of the journey, never before seen in this form.
The aim of the exhibition in the Suermondt Ludwig Museum is to trace Dürer's trip to the Netherlands - in a unique cultural and historical picture sheet. This is achieved by using Dürer's detailed travel diary and artistic works, with which the travel stations can be traced and visualized down to the last detail. The team of curators compiles around 140 works of the highest quality that Dürer produced during his journey in 1520/21. These are drawings and paintings that were made during this period, for example the impressive portrait of St. Jerome from Lisbon. There are also sculptures and paintings by contemporaries as reference works. Lenders are high-ranking institutions such as the National Gallery London, the Albertina Vienna, the Louvre, the British Museum, the Royal Collection / Windsor Castle, the Uffizi Gallery, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, or the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett and others.
A scientific committee was formed to prepare the exhibition and catalogue, consisting of employees from the two museums and recognized specialists in this field, such as:
Dr. Susan Foister (National Gallery, London), Prof. Dr. Manfred Sellink (Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerp), Dr. Thomas Schauerte (Museen der Stadt Aschaffenburg), Prof. Dr. Jan van der Stock (Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven), Dr. Joris van Grieken (KBR Brussels), Till-Holger Borchert (Musea Bruges), Prof. Dr. Arnold Nesselrath (Humboldt University Berlin), Dr. Daniel Hess (Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nuremberg), Dr. Giulia Bartrum (British Museum London), Dr. Christof Metzger (Albertina Vienna), Prof. Dr. Dagmar Eichberger (University of Heidelberg) and Dr. Dagmar Preising, Sarvenaz Ayooghi and Peter van den Brink (all Suermondt Ludwig Museum Aachen).
A catalogue with approx. 300 pages and 250 colour illustrations will be published for the exhibition. In 24 essays, the current state of research on Dürer's journey to the Netherlands and on his two earlier journeys to Italy (one section of the exhibition in London) will be presented. The German version will be published by Hirmer Verlag; the English version by National Gallery Publications.
The exhibition is being curated in Aachen by Peter van den Brink, Director of the Suermondt Ludwig Museum, and his team Sarvenaz Ayooghi, Wibke Birth and Dr. Dagmar Preising.
In London the exhibition is curated by Dr. Susan Foister, Deputy Director and Curator of Early Netherlandish, German and British Paintings at the National Gallery. The London venue will be staged in a modified form, with a section added covering Dürer's journeys into the Alps and to Italy (mid-1490s) and to Venice (1505 - 07), under the title "Dürer's Journeys: Travels of a Renaissance Artist" (13th February - 16th May 2021).
Please find more details concerning the three exhibitions in Aachen here.