Detail from Das Mannerbad (The Men's Bath) by Albrecht Dürer, ca. 1496-1497. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.
This scene depicts six men in an open-air bath which is constructed of rough timber with a light timber or thatched roof. In the center, one man plays a recorder; at the right, another plays a fiddle. (Some sources describe it as a rebec.) On the far right, one man drinks from a tankard. At the left, one figure stands listening, hand to chin, and in the foreground are two turbaned men; the one on the right has his back to the viewer. In the background is a village and the surrounding landscape in which a bridge and fortified castle can be seen on either side of a large tree which is in the center of the composition. In the foreground, the two turbanned men lean against a low masonry wall which has a plant, a cup and stones before it.
This woodcut was included in The Pipers: An Exhibition of Engravings, Watercolors and Lithographs from the Dayton C. Miller Collection, Library of Congress, March 1977.
About the Artist
Albrecht Dürer, painter and engraver, 1471-1528
Albrecht Dürer was born in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1471. He died in the same city in 1528. He was the son of a goldsmith and was a gifted painter, draughtsman, and printmaker. He was taught drawing by his father but apprenticed with Michael Wolgemut, a painter and book illustrator. His godfather was Anton Koberger, a leading German publisher and printer, and Koberger and Willibald Pirckheimer, a noted humanist, encouraged the young artist. Continuing his studies, Dürer traveled to Colmar, Basel and Strasbourg from about 1490 to 1494. After a brief return to Nuremberg to marry in 1494, he soon left for Italy where he traveled until the spring of 1495. On his return to Nuremberg, Dürer produced a number of paintings and began his work in printmaking. He made a second trip to Italy in 1505-1507 where he met the great Venetian painter, Giovanni Bellini. In Nuremberg once more, he painted several altarpieces on commission, but continued his graphic work. Some of his largest and most complex engravings date from 1513 and 1514. He also provided designs for the Triumphal Arch for Emperor Maximilian I, his principal patron until Maximilian's death in 1519. He traveled to the Netherlands in 1520-1521 and, in his final years in Nuremberg, he worked on smaller paintings and engravings. Dürer had a lifelong interest in the Italian Renaissance concepts of beauty, harmony, perspective and the ideal proportions of the human figure, subjects about which he devoted some of his writings.
- There are numerous books and references on the life and work of Albrecht Dürer. The source used here is based on an article by Kristin Lohse Belkin, "Dürer, Albrecht," from the Oxford Companion to Western Art, which is available via Oxford Art Online (subscription only). [back to article]