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Day 21 — National Blog Posting Month

How could I possibly not stay with Albrecht Dürer for another day at the Somerset House? Stephanie Buck of the Courtauld Gallery (see yesterday’s post) says  “Mein Agnes” has a very, very modern look; the freshness of it is really quite stunning. When one experiences it for the first time they might think it is from a much later date.

Mein Agnes, Albrecht Dürer 1494

Mein Agnes, Albrecht Dürer 1494

Several weeks after Dürer returned to Nuremberg in May 1494, he married Agnes Frey. Albrecht the Elder had arranged the marriage with Hans Frey, a prosperous coppersmith, during his son’s long absence. He would be fully-trained and could open his own workshop.

It was probably just before their wedding that Dürer sketched his fiancée, then in her late teens. The intimacy of this everyday sketch is unusual, showing her at a moment when she evidently thought herself to be unobserved. Capturing her pensive mood with just a few strokes of the pen he inscribed it: My Agnes.


NOTE: Personally, I think Agnes is not very, very modern and feels guilty because the Dürers celebrated their wedding night a few days before the official ceremony. I hope his sketch put her mind at ease.