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Dürer's "Self-Portrait with a Fur-Trimmed Robe," 1500, in an 18th Century Copy

Unsigned (Abraham Wolfgang Küfner?)ca. 1785

The City of Nuremberg's Art Collections, Nuremberg Municipal Museums

The City of Nuremberg's Art Collections, Nuremberg Municipal Museums
Nuremberg, Germany

Undated (before 1785); Oil on wood. Albrecht Dürer's last painting of himself alone, the "Self-Portrait in a Fur-Trimmed Robe," is not only a painting of unique artistic value, but a masterpiece of world art in general. This copy, ascribed to engraver and miniaturist Abraham Küfner, is full of riddles. It is fairly certain that the directorate of the Elector's art gallery in Munich bought Dürer's original from Küfner in 1805, and Küfner gave a receipt for the agreed payment of 600 gulden. But why did Nuremberg demand the return of the work in 1822? Why do the records of the City Council – of what was still a free imperial city at the time – contain no mention whatever of the sale of such an important work? And why does the copy – in a highly unusual twist – also copy the reverse side of the Munich original? The picture raises questions that even modern x-ray and infrared studies have left unanswered.

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  • Title: Dürer's "Self-Portrait with a Fur-Trimmed Robe," 1500, in an 18th Century Copy
  • Creator: Unsigned (Abraham Wolfgang Küfner?)
  • Date: ca. 1785
  • Provenance: Kunstsammlungen der Stadt Nürnberg
  • Type: Painting

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