Albrecht Dürer’s “The praying hands” and “Young hare” are some of the most widely reproduced works in art history. But, would this great artist have liked his work to be engraved on chocolate bars or Christmas decorations? Probably not, as his paintings are featured in the most important art museums in the world. If you look close enough, some spots in the city of Nuremberg reveal traces of Albrecht Dürer.
The Artist in His Workshop
Albrecht Dürer was born on 21 May 1471 in Nuremberg and died on 6 April 1528. He is buried in Nuremberg’s Johannisfriedhof. His father, Albrecht Dürer the Elder, moved to this city from Hungary in 1455 and married the daughter of a goldsmith. Of his 19 children, only 3 males survived, all without issue.
His first self-portrait was painted in 1484 while training in his father’s goldsmithery. It is still preserved today. Since Albrecht Dürer intended to become a painter after training as a goldsmith, his father sent him to the workshop of the painter, Michael Wolgemut, between 1486 and 1490. There he learned painting, wood carving and metal engraving.
His training took him to Basel in 1492 and to Strasbourg in 1494, among other places, where he made a living by selling books. In 1494, Albrecht Dürer received a dowry of 200 florins after marrying Agnes Frey, the daughter of a Nuremberg goldsmith. This led Albrecht to open his first painting workshop. Thanks to his mother-in-law’s relatives, he was able to come into contact with the city's upper class.
A Medieval and Renaissance Man
Living in the early Renaissance led Albrecht Dürer to strive for perfection through the technological advances of the time. He was a multifaceted genius who, in addition to painting, also explored other genres such as drawing or art theory. Noteworthy are his studies of proportion, geometry and design. Here is a review of his legacy in the city of Nuremberg.
First, some of his works are exhibited at the German National Museum (Germanisches Nationalmuseum), one of the world’s most important research centres for Albrecht Dürer. This museum also features exhibits of German culture from pre-history to the 20th century, the most notable of its kind in the country. Their permanent exhibition includes works by German painters and sculptors, as well as sections on archaeology, weapons and armour, musical and scientific instruments, and even toys. This museum also features Dürer’s “Hercules kills the Stymphalian Birds”. However, if you would like to discover the painter in his everyday and creative life, nothing better than visiting his own house. Dürer lived and worked in the Albrecht-Dürer-Haus from 1509 until his death in 1528. After a multimedia performance you can follow the audio guide tour of this 4-storey house, narrated by “Agnes”, Dürer’s wife. The highlights of this visit are the interactive demonstrations of his recreated workshop, a print store on the 3rd floor, and a gallery with his originals and reproductions in the attic.
Some 150 metres down the street, a monument dedicated to the artist – the Albrecht Dürer Monument –stands in the Albrecht-Dürer-Platz. Interestingly, the Felsengänge lies beneath this monument. This is a 14th-century underground labyrinth with four levels that used to house a brewery and a wine cellar. It was used as an air-raid shelter during World War II. You can visit this maze by going to the beer store on Burgstrasse 19.
Dürer’s Everyday Life Revisited
A good way of getting to know Dürer’s life in Nuremberg is by visiting the Stadtmuseum Fembohaus. This museum, which gives a comprehensive overview of the city’s history, features the restored rooms of a 16th-century merchant’s house. For taverns and eateries, look no further than Goldenes Posthorn. After going through its heavy copper door, you will find yourself in a gastronomic paradise that has been feeding Nuremberg citizens since 1498. Here you will find great local sausages, as well as many other country dishes – hard to find in other places – in addition to vegetarian options. Another tavern from those times is Marientorzwinger. This is Nuremberg’s last zwinger – a tavern built within the walls of old military quarters. This is a picturesque establishment offering wholesome Franconian produce, in addition to simple vegetable dishes. You can choose between their unpretentious dining room and the luxurious terrace. To drink, nothing better than a Tucher beer from Fürth.
To stay the night, we recommend the Dürer-Hotel, a four-star establishment located in the historic centre, right next to the Imperial Castle. Its bedrooms and lounges are uniquely decorated, perfectly combining tradition and modernity – after Albrecht Dürer’s perfectionist spirit. Oh, and, their cuisine is spectacular, with breakfasts that include confectionery, cold meats and local cheeses. Their products are high quality and organically produced in the region.
Dürer is synonymous with Nuremberg. Come and discover the city of this emblematic Renaissance artist. Remember, you can visit any time of the year. However, if you do so in spring or summer, the weather will likely be better, and you’ll be able to enjoy the old city’s splendid terrace cafés. Check out our flights here.
Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicaciónmore info
5 Charming Terraces on the Alsace Wine Route
The Alsace Wine Route is speckled with numerous wine cellars where you can taste the famed wines of this French region. And, if you’re travelling with family, friends or your partner, you can opt to discover the world of winemaking through a series of leisure activities in a number of delightful towns and villages, some of them regarded as among the most beautiful in France. You will also come across an endless array of restaurants, from Michelin-starred establishments to the typical winstubs, a kind of bistro offering traditional cuisine from locally sourced products in a relaxed setting. And, seated at a terrace café, to wit. Take note of these venues, which we can highly recommend.
La Nouvelle Auberge
This former post office is located between the cities of Colmar and Munster. The ground floor features a bistro offering market cuisine at moderate prices. The first floor is given over to an acclaimed, award-winning gourmet restaurant, with the subtle creations of a chef who combines cutting-edge technique with simple Alsatian recipes, conditioned solely by seasonality and in line with the slow-food movement, of which La Nouvelle Auberge is a member. They offer four tasting menus with different dishes every day, depending on what the freshest produce from local producers happens to be. Some of their specialities include snail soup with garlic and parsley, oxtail consommé, smoked river fish fillet in red wine sauce and snail paté on toast, all paired with local wines. The interior design is that of a traditional, half-timbered Alsatian home, while the establishment boasts a pleasant, quiet, shady terrace set in natural surroundings.
A comfortable, inviting establishment with refined decor where the chef crafts new suggestions every day, over and above a menu which is both contemporary and traditionally inspired. Special mention goes to the homemade desserts – watch out for the seasonal fruit tarts – and their wine list, extensive and with acclaimed local wines. As soon as the morning sun peeps through, they open a terrace behind the lovely red house that is Avenue 294. They have comfortable easy chairs and a plant-fringed area suited to having a last drink, for example. Pleasant ambient music accompanies the experience. A gourmet venue in a perfect setting you won’t want to leave.
A five minutes’ walk from the centre of the picturesque city that is Colmar – also known as “Little Venice” for its canals – you can relax in the garden-terrace of this establishment, owned by the Keller family, the fifth generation of restaurateurs. Their cuisine, based on seasonal products, is refined and very Alsatian, as evinced in the homemade foie gras with Gewürztraminer wine gelatine, or their organic five-meat sauerkraut. However, the standout feature of this restaurant-hotel is the interior patio, sited in a garden full of trees and flowers, totally cut off from the rest of the city.
A genuine old-time Alsatian winstub located in the heart of Colmar. They offer the authentic – most compelling – local dishes, including sauerkraut, onion tart, Munster cheese salad and duck magret, cream cheese and potatoes and beef tripe with Riesling. We loved their beautiful, flower-filled urban terrace where you needn’t hesitate to spend a long after-meal sipping those fabulous white wines from Alsace, served in glasses with a green foot.
Marlenheim, the first town you come to on the Alsace Wine Route if you start off from Strasbourg, has some great wine cellars and a great restaurant – Le Cerf. This establishment, which doubles as a hotel, has been run by the Husser family since 1930. It combines rustic interior design with avant-garde cuisine, which has earned it a Michelin star. Theirs is top-drawer cuisine, featuring regional dishes crafted using contemporary techniques, attested by the likes of sauerkraut or bouchées à la reine (stuffed vol-au-vent), and such international dishes as ravioli au foie gras or oxtail sashimi ramen, served up amid surrounding vineyards. Their terrace is a central patio where local red geraniums lend a touch of charm.
Book your Vueling to Basel, an hour and a half from the start of the Alsace Wine Route, and be sure to soak up the views in some of these magnificent terraces while tasting their delicious cuisine.
Text by Laia Zieger de Gastronomistas