User:Petropoxy (Lithoderm Proxy)/Agnes Dürer

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Albrecht Dürer, My Agnes, 1494. Albertina, Vienna

Agnes Dürer, née Agnes Frey (1475, Nuremberg — 28 December 1539, Nuremberg), was the wife of the German Renaissance painter Albrecht Dürer, for whom she frequently modelled.

While Dürer spent most of his time travelling, Agnes remained in Nuremberg to manage their household and her husband's large workshop. She played an active role in marketing Dürer's engravings and woodcuts, occasionally travelling long distances to sell them at fairs. Upon Dürer's 1528 death she inherited his estate and used this money to publish his treatise on human proportions and to endow a scholarship for the sons of artisans.

Agnes' character and the nature of her relationship with Albrecht are unclear. For centuries she has been maligned as shrewish and domineering, even to the point of being accused of driving Dürer to his death. Recent scholarship has taken a more favorable view, noting that the aspersions cast upon her originate largely from Dürer's close friend Willibald Pirckheimer, who was involved in disputes with Agnes over Dürer's estate.


Agnes Frey was born in 1475 to Hans Frey (1450-1523), a successful metalsmith, merchant, and member of Nuremberg's city council, and his wife Anna (d.1521), who came from the wealthy Rummel family.

While Agnes came from a wealthy and well-established Nuremberg family, Albrecht Dürer's father, the goldsmith Albrecht Dürer the Elder, was an emigrant from present-day Hungary.

As a model[edit]

Posthumous reputation[edit]

The traditional view of the Dürers' relationship: Albrecht Dürer is seated at his easel; Pirckheimer reads to him, while Agnes looks on disapprovingly.


  1. ^
    Doch, wenn ich nichts verſtehen ſoll vom Malen,

    So wißt, Ihr kennet gar nichts von dem Haushalt,

    Noch wiſſet Ihr, wie Alles jetʒt ſo theuer.

    Viel ſprecht ihr von der Kunſt, die Kunst iſt ſchön,

    Doch ſchöner iſt das Gold, denn ſchön iſt Alles,

    Was nütʒlich iſt, was uns Behagen ſchafft.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bennewitz, Nadja; Gaby Franger. (1999) Am Anfang war Sigena: Ein Nürnberger Frauengeschichtsbuch. Ars Vivendi. ISBN 3897160927
  • Evans, Mark L. (2001) "Dürer, Agnes." Dictionary of Artists' Models. Ed. Jill Berk Jiminez & Joanna Banham. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 1579582338
  • Kruse, Britta-Juliane (2007). Witwen: Kulturgeschichte eines Standes in Spätmittelalter and Früher Neuzeit (in German). Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 3110189267. 

External links[edit]