This is a remarkably close copy of Dürer's Self-portrait at the age of thirteen, the earliest drawing by the artist to have survived (now in the Albertina, Vienna). Dürer's drawing is also one of the most astonishing documents known in the history of art as a record of the work of an emerging genius. Dürer subsequently recognized its importance, adding an inscription to the sheet towards the end of his life.
Around 90 years after the original, the artist Hans Hoffmann made this copy and inscribed on a a separate sheet attached below: 'On 4 February 1576 I made this portrait from the image drawn by the widely famed Albrecht Dürer inscribed in his own hand thus [in imitation of Dürer's handwriting]: I drew this myself from a mirror in the year 1484, when I was still a child.'
The inscription's reverential tone emphasizes Dürer's high status among artists of the late sixteenth century, at which time his work was particularly admired. Hoffmann (about 1545/50-1591/2) was the most important artist of the 'Dürer renaissance'. He was recorded as a citizen of Nuremberg in 1576, at which time the original drawing was in the collection of Willibald Imhoff (1519-80), a grandson of Dürer's friend Willibald Pirckheimer. Imhoff acquired a large number of Dürer's drawings after the artist's immediate family died out in 1560.