When we think of the renaissance in art during the 15th and 16th centuries, we generally think of Italy and the famous Italian artists from that time. People like Raphael or Leonardo da Vinci.
We tend not to think of Germany so much.
But there was one artist in particular who was working during the Renaissance in Germany who should be credited with bringing the ideas and the age of discovery to northern Europe. His name was Albrecht Dürer and he was a son of Nuremberg.
Dürer based himself in his hometown of Nuremberg for most of his life but he made a couple of important trips to Italy where he met some of the leading Italian artists of the time.
It was his association with them that allowed him to bring the cutting-edge artistic ideas back north. Much like a trading route for spices, he transported inspiration and it started to add a new flavour to everything he and his contemporaries were working on.
Who was Albrecht Dürer?
Albrecht Dürer was a German artist, considered one of the best ever but certainly of the Middle Ages. Working in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, he was a prolific artist, creating altarpieces, portraits, oil paintings, engravings, and woodcuts.
Why was Albrecht Dürer so important?
It was Albrecht Dürer’s trips to Italy that helped make him so important because he brought back the ideas of the Renaissance to his hometown of Nuremberg, Germany. His art from this point had a huge influence on the Northern Renaissance, a cultural movement that would spread across Europe.
Can you visit Albrecht Dürer’s house?
The home of Albrecht Dürer in the city of Nuremberg has been turned into a museum and you can now visit it. It paints a portrait of the artist’s home life as well as his creative and intellectual endeavours.
The work he would end up doing here in Nuremberg after time in Italy would be considered incredible in isolation.
But what makes it so important is the huge influence it would have on the cultural movement known as the Northern Renaissance. Dürer really was at the forefront of this new art style, which would spread across much of Europe towards the end of (and well after) his life.
The art of Albrecht Dürer
One of the interesting things about Albrecht Dürer is that he created artworks in so many different styles. But what’s common with all of them is their meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail.
Although some of his oil paintings are among his most famous works, Dürer was also a pioneer in printmaking, so his woodcuts and engravings are particularly interesting and he’s well known for some of those.
While he covered a range of subjects, including landscapes and religious scenes, it’s his depictions of humans that he’s really known for.
Dürer had a profound understanding of human anatomy and proportion, and he spent much of his time in Italy studying the mathematics of how to depict the body.
Later in his career, Dürer had become so famous and well-regarded that even the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I, was commissioning works from him. This, of course, made him quite wealthy.
The house where Albrecht Dürer lived in the later years of his life shows a man who had profited handsomely from his work. It is five stories high, with the bottom two made of sandstone and the top three made of wood.
He bought it in 1509 when he was 38 years old, not long after he returned from his second trip to Italy. It was during the time he was living in this house that he produced some of his most celebrated works.
Rather than talk more about his art – although that would be an interesting discussion – I want to focus on the house, because it is one of the main tourist attractions in Nuremberg today.
Things to see at the Albrecht Dürer House
Dürer was living during the Middle Ages, a period of horses and castles and wenches and vomit in the gutters. But Nuremberg was a pretty wealthy city because of its position on the trading routes so to be a member of the elite during this time was quite meaningful.
Dürer’s house demonstrates this. Not only is it large, but it is located very close to Nuremberg’s Imperial Castle on the walls of the Old Town.
It is now a museum and a tour through the interior gives you an insight into the man (and his art) and into life in Nuremberg during this Medieval times.
The small kitchen with its stone walls and internal fire shows you how it would have been to prepare meals, the living rooms with their ornate wooden furniture show the sophisticated side of his status.
On the higher levels are the workshops where Dürer did his paintings and worked on his carved wooden blocks.
It’s here that the museum really comes into its own, with detailed information about how he and his students collected natural objects to make paints of different colours, and the techniques he used for the wood block art.
For visitors, there is an audioguide which takes you through each room and gives you historical and technical information.
It is well put together and is narrated by Albrecht Dürer’s wife, Agnes, (Ok, fine, it’s an actor… but y’know) who speaks from the perspective of running the household.
Those interested in art will enjoy the collection of Dürer works on display (even though they are copies) and the information about his styles. Those interested in history will appreciate the details about the house and what life was like in the Middle Ages.
And those interested in Nuremberg will get a look at one of its most important residents during an extremely influential part of its growth.
Visiting the Albrecht Dürer House
The Albrecht Dürer House is not particularly large and will probably take about 45 minutes to see properly.
As I mentioned, there’s an audioguide and it’s well worth listening to, giving lots of really interesting information about the house and the story of the artist.
A few other things to note about visiting the Albrecht Dürer House:
- As a preserved historic building, there is only very limited access for those with impaired mobility. Foldable seats that can also serve as mobility aids are available.
- There are coin-operated lockers for large items.
- There is no parking on site.
- There is no food or drink available at the museum (but there are plenty of nearby options).
- Guided tours can also be booked outside regular opening hours by request for an additional €100 fee.
Also, if you’ve been inspired by your time here, you can see some of the originals of Albrecht Dürer’s works at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, which showcases a decent range of his styles.
(Because he was such a prolific artist, you’ll also find his pieces in art galleries all around the world – perhaps even in your hometown.)
Where is Albrecht Dürer House?
The Albrecht Dürer House can be found in the city centre of Nuremberg.
Its address is Albrecht-Dürer-Straße 39, 90403 Nürnberg, Germany. You can find it on a map here.
How do you get to Albrecht Dürer House?
The Albrecht Dürer House is walkable from many of the city’s other main sights, but is also easy to access by public transport.
By tram, take line 4 to the Tiergärtnertor stop.
By bus, take line 36 to Burgstraße stop.
You can also take the U-Bahn’s U1 to Lorenzkirche station (use the Hauptmarkt exit).
When is Albrecht Dürer House open?
The Albrecht Dürer House is open at the following times:
Tuesday to Friday: 10:00 – 17:00
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 – 18:00
The Albrecht Dürer House is closed on Mondays and has different opening hours on special holidays.
What is the Albrecht Dürer House entrance fee?
The entrance fee to the Albrecht Dürer House is €7.50 for a standard ticket and €2.50 for a concession.
Are there tours to Albrecht Dürer House?
Unfortunately there are no tours that visit Albrecht Dürer House, but you may be interested in this general private city tour of Nuremberg.
For more information, see the official website of the Albrecht Dürer House.
There are lots of good places for food near the museum – in fact, I’ve got a whole story about the best restaurants in Nuremberg.
My top recommendation would be the local pork knuckle at the Albrecht Dürer Stube.
You can try the traditional sausages at the Bratwursthäusle next to St Sebald’s Church.
And wash it all down with a beer at the Hausbrauerei Altstadthof.
THE BEST ACCOMMODATION IN NUREMBERG
From the train station, head into the old town to find the most interesting accommodation – there are lots of options in historic buildings.
Set in an old building next to the castle, Jugendherberge Nürnberg makes you feel like you’re part of history!
Although it’s relatively simple, I think Hotel Fackelmann is the best value budget option in town.
Right on the central square, you can’t get a better location than the modern Sorat Hotel Saxx.
And for modern four-star luxury, I would recommend the stylish Park Plaza, right near the train station.
Time Travel Turtle was supported by the German National Tourist Board but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.