The master was at home here

Vignettes from the History of Albrecht Dürer's House

Albrecht Dürer's House in NurembergAlbrecht-Dürer-Haus

This imposing house on Tiergärtnertorplatz in Nuremberg is where Albrecht Dürer lived and worked from 1509 until his death in 1528. Since at least the Romantic era in the early nineteenth century, it has been a symbol of the city's storied past and has counted as one of the town's most important sights.

Albrecht Dürer's House on Tiergärtnertorplatz (1816) by Johann Christoph ErhardAlbrecht-Dürer-Haus

The artist's former home came into the ownership of the City of Nuremberg in 1826. Its first occupant under the new owners was the Albrecht Dürer Association. Then in 1871, to commemorate Dürer's 400th birthday, the building was fitted out as a museum with controlled public access.

Albrecht Dürer’s House with the restored dormer on the roof (1907) by Friedrich Trost the ElderAlbrecht-Dürer-Haus

Even today, an unverified tradition commonly has it that Dürer's studio was in a dormer room on the top floor. For a time this "fact" was considered so well established that the dormer, which had been torn down late in the 18th century, was rebuilt in 1899.

The damage to Albrecht Dürer's House after World War II (1945) by Ewald FriedrichAlbrecht-Dürer-Haus

Unlike most other buildings of Nuremberg's Old Town, Dürer's house largely escaped destruction in World War II. After extensive repairs, the building was able to reopen as a museum as early as 1949.

The "Oberer Tennen" looking into the kitchen on the first floor of Albrecht Dürer's HouseAlbrecht-Dürer-Haus

An open stairwell on the south side of the building leads to the upper floors. On the first floor above the ground floor, a rather long landing leads to the kitchen at left and the living room at the right. Each room is adjoined by a smaller chamber.

The front living room by Friedrich Wilhelm Wanderer on the first floor of Albrecht Dürer's HouseAlbrecht-Dürer-Haus

The elaborate furnishings of the living room, or "Stube," and the adjoining chamber were designed by Nuremberg art school professor Friedrich Wilhelm Wanderer (1840-1910). For that reason the two rooms are also known as the "Wanderer Rooms." The furniture designs were based on the style of Dürer's era.

Design for the Front Living Room at Albrecht Dürer's House (1879) by Friedrich Wilhelm WandererOriginal Source:

Wanderer took some of his inspiration from details in Dürer's 1514 master engraving "Saint Jerome in His Study." But we have no evidence as to whether Dürer actually portrayed objects from his own home in his works.

Colored glass panel ("Kabinettscheibe") with Dürer's coat of arms, based on a design by Friedrich Wilhelm Wanderer (um 1880) by Christoph Philipp BöhmländerAlbrecht-Dürer-Haus

Pictorial colored glass windows were a significant medium for Dürer, both artistically and economically. As a reminder of this line of work, Wanderer's designs incorporated a Dürer coat of arms among the bullseye-glass panes in the left sash of one of the room's windows.

Convex mirror reproduction in Late Gothic style (1882) by Joseph Johann SemmelrothAlbrecht-Dürer-Haus

The convex mirror hanging next to the chamber window, with its ivory and mother of pearl intarsia, was also designed by Friedrich Wilhelm Wanderer. It can be assumed that Dürer used just such convex mirrors in making his self-portraits.

Printing press, reconstructed from a drawing by Albrecht Dürer from 1511 (1970/71) by Norbert Krippner (design); MAN carpentry shop (execution)Albrecht-Dürer-Haus

The workshop is on the second floor above the ground floor. This is where Albrecht Dürer is likely to have spent most of his time, at least in his years of greatest productivity. A room opposite holds a reproduction of a historic printing press.

The engraving and painting studio at Albrecht Dürer's HouseAlbrecht-Dürer-Haus

The large room that now houses the workshop for copperplate engravings and painting only came into being in the 19th century by combining a living room with a bedroom. The equipment we see today gathers together the many different tools and utensils for a painter's studio in Dürer's time.

Tools in the painter's studio at Albrecht Dürer's HouseAlbrecht-Dürer-Haus

Display cases show tools for working the wood blocks and printing plates used to make woodcuts and engravings. Printer's proofs give a sense of the individual steps in the process.

Display case in the painter's studio at Albrecht Dürer's HouseAlbrecht-Dürer-Haus

While the colored pigments on a painting's surface may dazzle the viewer, the binders remain invisible. Yet binders are what "bind" the pigments together and to the underlying support. As a rule, fish glue or resins were used for the purpose.

The "Graphic Art Cabinet" at Albrecht Dürer's HouseAlbrecht-Dürer-Haus

The third floor above the ground floor houses the "Graphic Art Cabinet." Drawings, watercolors and prints from the city's Art Collections, including some of Dürer's originals, are shown here at regular intervals.

Credits: Story

Text and choice of images: Oliver Nagler M.A.

Implementation: Brigitte List

More information can be found in the exhibition catalogue
Matthias Mende: The Dürer House in Nuremberg
Its Past and Present in Views from 1714 to 1990
Verlag Hans Carl Nürnberg

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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