The Four Apostles - Albrecht Durer. 215 x 76 cm
Two vertical boards fastened together with the image of the four apostles John, Peter, Paul, Mark - perhaps the most significant work in the work of the artist Albrecht Durer, one of the greatest representatives of the German Renaissance.
For the painter, this is not just biblical heroes - Dürer sought to portray four people demonstrating the perfection of mind, character and spirit. Here, each is individualized and unique. It is believed that the master through the apostles accurately conveyed four types of temperament:
- melancholic Pavel - he is in a gray-white robe on the right wing of the diptych;
- choleric Mark - stands next to Paul;
- sanguine John on the opposite wing in a bright red tunic;
- phlegmatic pensive Peter, bowed his head.
Also in the literature of art, one can find a comparison of the apostles with different seasons or 4 different ages.
Here, the viewer sees not only the significant innovations that characterize Dürer’s work as a whole - the personalization of biblical heroes, the dynamism of images, attention to detail, but also the philosophical ideas of the master, a peculiar illustration of his human ideal. The artist believed that a perfect person is one who is spiritually rich, has a will, is ready for action. He tried to portray all these high ethical standards in the apostles. Indeed, noble calm is read in their images, coupled with a lively character and a keen mind.
Divided into different wings, the work, meanwhile, seems indivisible in both compositional and spiritual terms. It is known that after the completion of the diptych, Dürer presented it as a gift to his hometown of Nuremberg, but appreciating the artist’s skill, the City Council decided to pay the author money for such a perfect gift.