Portrait of Emperor Maximilian I

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Portrait of Emperor Maximilian I
Albrecht Dürer 084b.jpg
Artist Albrecht Dürer
Year 1519
Type Oil on linden wood
Dimensions 74 cm × 62 cm (29 in × 24 in)
Location Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

The Portrait of Emperor Maximilian I is an oil painting by Albrecht Dürer, dating to 1519 and now at the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna, Austria. It portrays the emperor Maximilian I.

History[edit]

In the Spring of 1512, the newly elected emperor Maximilian I of Habsburg sojourned in Nuremberg, where he got acquainted with Dürer. To celebrate the emperor and his house, the artist conceived the large Triumphal Arch woodcut, for which he was rewarded with 100 yearly florins.

The preparatory drawing.

In 1518, during the Diet of Augsburg, Maximilian called Dürer to portray him. The artist met the emperor in the castle and made a pencil drawing of him, from which he later painted the panel portrait. On the drawing's martig, he noted: "Is the emperor Maximilian that I Albrecht Dürer portrayed in Augsburg, up in the high palace, in his small room, Monday 28 June 1518".

The oil panel was completed when the emperor had already died, with some variants from the initial drawing. The latter is now housed in the Albertina, also in Vienna.

Description[edit]

The emperor is portrayed from three-quarter on a green background. The arms lie on an unseen parapet coinciding with the lower boundary of the painting, according to the Flemish painting tradition. His right hand holds a large pomegranate, a symbol of cohesion in the diversity and thus of the Holy Roman Empire (the grains representing his subjects).

Maximilian wears a gown with a very wide fur collar and a broad-brimmed dark hat, with a broach in the center. His grey hair crown his aged (Maximilian was 59 at the time) but still aristocratic face.

In the upper left is the Habsburg coat of arms and Golden Fleece chain, near a long inscription in capital characters which resumes the titles and the deeds of the emperor

POTENTISSIMVS. MAXIMVS. ET. INVICTISSIMVS. CAESAR. MAXIMILIANVS/ QVI. CVNCTOS. SVI. TEMPORIS. REGES. ET. PRINCIPES. IVSTICIA. PRVDENCIA/ MAGNANIMITATE. LIBERALITATE PRAECIPVE. VERO. BELLICA. LAVDE. ET/ ANIMI. FORTITVDINE. SVPERAVIT. NATVS. EST. ANNO. SALVTIS. HVMANAE./ M.CCCC. LIX. DIE. MARCII. IX. VIXIT. ANNOS. LIX. MENSES. IX. DIES. XXV/ DECESSIT. VERO. ANNO. M.D.XIX. MENSIS. IANVARII. DIE. XII. QVEM. DEVS/ OPT. MAX. IN. NVMERVM. VIVENCIVM. REFERRE. VELIT

Sources[edit]

  • Costantino Porcu, ed. (2004). Dürer. Milan: Rizzoli. 

External links[edit]