27 minutes ago
One of the finest drapery studies by Albrecht Dürer is ‘A Woman in Netherlandish Dress seen from Behind (drapery study)’, on display in our autumn exhibition, ‘Monochrome: Painting in Black and White’. The study was made using a brush and black ink, heightened with white, on grey-violet prepared paper. Dürer’s writings reveal that he produced this work as a record of a type of dress he saw during his travels through the Netherlands in 1520-1.
The work is an impressive demonstration of Dürer’s chiaroscuro technique: painting the drapery in shades from dark grey to white on the middle-ground of the prepared paper before adding a black background around the figure, he ensured that the figure would stand out against the coloured paper. The stiff, heavy folds in the woman’s garment convey the thickness and weight of the fabric and Dürer’s mastery of the technique, applying the white heightening with a brush in increasing degrees of intensity, amplifies the three-dimensional effect and renders areas such as the woman’s head so bright that they appear to radiate light.
Detail from Albrecht Dürer, ‘A Woman in Netherlandish Dress seen from Behind (drapery study)’, 1521 © The Albertina Museum, Vienna
#monochrome #nationalgallery #exhibition #london #painting #photography #albrechtdürer #drapery #draping #chiaroscuro