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The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer (Princeton Classic Editions) [Paperback]

Erwin Panofsky , Jeffrey Chipps Smith
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

11 Sep 2005 Princeton Classic Editions

This classic text presents the life, times, and works of Albrecht Dürer. Through the skill and immense knowledge of Erwin Panofsky, the reader is dazzled not only by Dürer the artist but also Dürer in a wide array of other roles, including mathematician and scientific thinker. Originally published in 1943 in two volumes, The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer met with such wide popular and scholarly acclaim that it led to three editions and then, in 1955, to the first one-volume edition. Without sacrifice of text or illustrations, the book was reduced to this single volume by the omission of the Handlist and Concordance. The new introduction by Jeffrey Chipps Smith reflects upon Panofsky the man, the tumultuous circumstances surrounding the creation of his masterful monograph, its innovative contents, and its early critical reception. Erwin Panofsky was one of the most important art historians of the twentieth century. Panofsky taught for many years at Hamburg University but was forced by the Nazis to leave Germany. He joined the faculty at the Institute for Advanced Study in 1935, where he spent the remainder of his career and wrote The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer. He developed an iconographic approach to art and interpreted works through an analysis of symbolism, history, and social factors.

This book, one of his most important, is a comprehensive study of painter and printmaker Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), the greatest exponent of northern European Renaissance art. Although an important painter, Dürer was most renowned for his graphic works. Artists across Europe admired and copied his innovative and powerful prints, ranging from religious and mythological scenes to maps and exotic animals. The book covers Dürer's entire career in exacting detail. With multiple indexes and more than three hundred illustrations, it has served as an indispensable reference, remaining crucial to an understanding of the work of the great artist and printmaker. Subsequent Dürer studies have necessarily made reference to Panofsky's masterpiece. Panofsky's work continues to be admired for the author's immense erudition, subtlety of appreciation, technical knowledge, and profound analyses.


Frequently Bought Together

The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer (Princeton Classic Editions) + The Complete Engravings, Etchings and Drypoints  of  Albrecht Dürer. (Dover Fine Art, History of Art) + The Complete Woodcuts of Albrecht Dürer
Price For All Three: £65.73

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Product details

  • Paperback: 520 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; 1st Princeton Classic Ed edition (11 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691122768
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691122762
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 18.1 x 25.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 424,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Praise for Princeton's previous editions: "Whatever was immortal of Albrecht Dürer is covered by this book."--Wolfgang Stechow, Art Bulletin

"Panofsky'sDürer--the result of a lifetime of looking, thinking, reading and making connections--belongs in the library of anyone who takes art seriously. Everything we could want to know about one of history's stellar artists is here."--Victor M. Cassidy, ArtNet.com

"The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer may be mandatory reading for students and scholars alike, but it is also one of the more enjoyable reading assignments out there, one that can be mined for material again and again. . . . Smith's concise and well-paced introduction adds another layer to the history of the life of the book itself within the context of twentieth-century historiography."--Susan Maxwell, Sixteenth Century Journal

About the Author

Erwin Panofsky (1892-1968) taught at the University of Hamburg, New York University, Princeton University, and Harvard University. Jeffrey Chipps Smith is Kay Fortson Chair in European Art at the University of Texas, Austin. His books include "Sensuous Worship" (Princeton).

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Quality. 31 Dec 2009
By Biff VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Panofsky may have been a renowned art historian but this edition does no justice to him or Durer.

There are many illustrations but these are all lumped together at the back of the book meaning much flipping back and forward - which with the rather flimsy nature of the covers and pages means the book is soon going to get very "worn". Even worse is the fact that there is not a single colour illustration (Durer did actually paint as well as draw and produce etchings) and every single one appears to be a rather muddy grey-scale image - not very clever for an art book.

The fonts used throughout the book have a very dated feel to them & in places appear rather "thin" and faded. The whole book (bar the covers) has the feel of a scanned reproduction from an earlier edition.

Content is fine but overshadowed by the very disappointing production qualites.

Certainly not good value for money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Secret Knowledge 17 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This volume is for those doing serious study as it is a serious book but, if that's what you want (and I did) it hits the spot. If you wanted to know if art is all about inspiration then think again; it's about hard work, constant training and knoqwing your subject. It's a bit high-minded in places but is the definitive book on Durer's life and work.

The downside, as another reviewer actually said before I got it, is that the illustartions are all in the back and in no particular order which is irritating. The text though, does make ammends. I learned a lot from this book, a lot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars classic 27 April 2013
By Oliver
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Classic monograph on Durer by an art historical legend. Very accessible, but bear in mind Panofsky's particular brand of iconology can be a rather problematic.
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16 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unen-Durer-able 9 July 2007
Format:Paperback
Erwin Panofsky was one of the founders of modern art criticism and a very learned man who wrote many books on such abtruse subjects as the difference between iconography and iconology with all the seriousness of a central European academic.

This lavishly illustrated work on the great German Renaissance painter and print-maker, Albrecht Durer (1471 - 1528), starts with a reasonably good introduction, mentioning the differing historical views on Durer, such as the belief common among 19th-century German Romanticists that he was a meek and pious soul wholly devoted to the interpretation of Christian subjects and contented with a quiet and dependent life.

This picture of a pedantic, conservative craftsman is countered by a suggestion that there might have been a Faustian element in Durer's nature, typified by a restless craving for a perfection never to be attained and an acute awareness of irresolvable artistic problems.

Unfortunately, this lively opening is not lived up to. Panofsky's treatment of the biographical details of Durer's life - including the revelationn that he was unhappily married - leads to a long, shapeless, rambling account, governed more by the intricate chronology of Durer's artistic production than any profound sense of the man himself.

There is no denying Panofsky's erudition. He definitely has all the colors on his mental palette. But like a bad painter he mixes all the hues together in a messy attempt to show off how vast and detailed his knowledge is. An intrinsically fascinating subject is thus rendered increasingly murky and morass-like by Panofsky's inability to make clear points or structure the rich detail of his knowledge. This work is the classic example of a book written by an academic with his nose too deeply buried in his subject. A strong editor would have been a godsend.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential classic in Durer studies 5 Jun 2003
By ArtTrav - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
While Panofsky may seem indigestible to some - this is not a book for the "general reader" - this book remains essential material for anyone researching any aspect of Durer's career. It is written in more accessible prose than some of Panofsky's other works, since he concentrates more on straight monographic information than on deep interpretation.
The book takes us through Durer's career in chronological order. It is easy to look up specific works and their contexts (there are handy indices as well). It's comprehensiveness makes it a really useful book to have on hand. All Durer studies after this one necessarily make reference to what Panofsky said.
As a monograph this is, hence, extremely succesful. It is also a product of its time and of Panofsky's method. Newer studies, such as Joseph Koerner's "The Moment of self-portraiture in german renaissance art", probe deeper into some of the themes about which the reader may be left wondering upon reading Panofsky.
Durer is arguably THE most important artist of the German Renaissance; Panosfky the most important art historian of our time. Read the book!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the best book on the subject by far 14 May 2011
By Joe Hill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Yes, there are no color illustrations, and yes, the prose is dense, but if you would like to read what is probably the most brilliant book ever written in the history of art, this is it. Don't expect a page-turner. You may have to read it twice to understand it. I did. And it was worth it. If you are interested in Albrecht Durer, this is a must-read.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A basic book. 25 April 2008
By Dr. Robert H. Getscher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Panofsky is still the standard study on Durer. Recent scholarship has revised some of his views, but the depth and perseption of his ideas remans unmatched.
33 of 49 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unen-Durer-able 21 Oct 2002
By Captain Cook - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Erwin Panofsky was one of the founders of modern art criticism and a very learned man who wrote many books on such abtruse subjects as the difference between iconography and iconology with all the seriousness of a central European academic.
This lavishly illustrated work on the great German Renaissance painter and print-maker, Albrecht Durer (1471 - 1528), starts with a reasonably good introduction, mentioning the differing historical views on Durer, such as the belief common among 19th-century German Romanticists that he was a meek and pious soul wholly devoted to the interpretation of Christian subjects and contented with a quiet and dependent life.
This picture of a pedantic, conservative craftsman is countered by a suggestion that there might have been a Faustian element in Durer's nature, typified by a restless craving for a perfection never to be attained and an acute awareness of irresolvable artistic problems.
Unfortunately, this lively opening is not lived up to. Panofsky's treatment of the biographical details of Durer's life - including the revelationn that he was unhappily married - leads to a long, shapeless, rambling account, governed more by the intricate chronology of Durer's artistic production than any profound sense of the man himself.
There is no denying Panofsky's erudition. He definitely has all the colors on his mental palette. But like a bad painter he mixes all the hues together in a messy attempt to show off how vast and detailed his knowledge is. An intrinsically fascinating subject is thus rendered increasingly murky and morass-like by Panofsky's inability to make clear points or structure the rich detail of his knowledge. This work is the classic example of a book written by an academic with his nose too deeply buried in his subject. A strong editor would have been a godsend.
4.0 out of 5 stars Durer re-invented 27 Jan 2014
By Tak Cheng Sze - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The life and art of Albrecht Durer is almost equivalent to the life and words of Erwin Panofsky. This monumental monograph volume of the Renaissance giant is compelling: as Panofsky not only mentioned the art work of Durer but he also referenced Durer's works to the classical and medieval representational traditions, and concluded with how Durer invented a new style of his own which was different from classical tradition and his Italian contemporaries.

Panofsky put heavy emphasis on analysing Durer's master engraving 'Melancholia I' and he also added two important chapters towards the end of the volume which talks about the theory of Durer's art.

One might start to wonder, putting visual art as a subject of cultural studies was a 19th century invention. Therefore, Panofsky's theorization of Durer's art and re-publishing his art work in a new context of academic study is, by it own right, a transformation of Durer's art. Panofsky shifted the focus of Durer's art to be more iconographical from sensual and experiential.

Durer transformed art by putting art on mass-prints at his time and Panofsky re-transformed Durer by analysing his art work with reference to forces of different symbolic interpretations. This publication is significance because Panofsky has transformed Durer as a modern iconic symbol, and it also suggests the modern art scene to deliberately separate herself from the historical past.
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