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Dream of the Doctor

Dream of the Doctor, ca. 1498, Engraving
Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471 – 1528)

Painter, printmaker, and theorist Albrecht Dürer is considered one of the greatest artists of the Northern Renaissance. Through his extensive travels, Dürer became well versed in Italian Renaissance styles and began integrating Italian technique into his highly developed figure types. He is therefore recognized for introducing classical motifs into German art. Intent on creating a systematic representation of the human figure using mathematical principles, Dürer wrote four books outlining the ideal representation of the human body. In Temptation of the Idler (The Dream of The Doctor) from 1498, one can see the beginnings of Durer’s interest in the ideal figure. The semi-draped female figure is well muscled, short waisted and full figured, a body type probably borrowed from The Venus of Medici.