Painting uncovered on the wall of a Viennese cathedral could be a lost work by artist Albrecht Dürer

Painting uncovered under centuries of dirt on the wall of a Viennese cathedral could be a lost work by Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer

  • Albrecht Dürer was an artist who had been based in Nuremburg, Germany
  • Paintings have now been founds at St Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria
  • Experts removed a ‘centuries-old veil of dirt’ from the wall paintings 

A painting thought to be the work of a famed Renaissance artist has been uncovered beneath centuries of dirt on the wall of a cathedral in Vienna, Austria.

Found in St Stephen’s Cathedral, the large wall painting was discovered on a wall that now sits above the cathedral’s gift shop.

Experts said the painting, which depicts Saints Catherine and Margaret, is the work of German artist Albrecht Dürer.

Dürer worked as a theorist of the German Renaissance and also produced many prints.

The painting (pictured above) was discovered at St Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria

The painting in Vienna

The painting in Vienna

The huge wall painting was found above the gift shops at the Catherdral and experts had to wipe them of dust

Albrecht Dürer (self portrait above) lived in Nuremberg, Germany and was famous for his paint making

Albrecht Dürer (self portrait above) lived in Nuremberg, Germany and was famous for his paint making

The Nuremberg artist established his reputation across Europe when he was in his twenties, due to his high-quality woodcut prints.

According to Austria’s Federal Monuments Office, the newly discovered paintings are thought to date back to the 16th Century, The Art Newspaper reported.

The painting was found in the ‘bishop’s gate’ area of the cathedral and the Monuments Office said the ‘artistic quality suggests a great master’, after it announced the discovery last week.

In order to work out the origins of the piece, experts removed a ‘centuries-old veil of dirt’ from the paintings, it was then they discovered that it had been created by Dürer.

The painting is located in a part of the cathedral known as the 'bishop's gate'. The artist was famed for his wall paintings

The painting is located in a part of the cathedral known as the ‘bishop’s gate’. The artist was famed for his wall paintings 

The paintings were found in St Stephen's Cathedral (pictured above). Dürer is believed to have visited on his way to see a friend

The paintings were found in St Stephen’s Cathedral (pictured above). Dürer is believed to have visited on his way to see a friend

Dürer grew up in Nuremberg and the discovery of the painting could shed light on the life of the painter, as there is currently no historical records which state he had visited Vienna.

Who was Albrecht Dürer?

As newly discovered wall paintings in Vienna are revealed as the work of Albrecht Dürer, we take a look at the German artist.

Dürer was born in 1471 in the city of Nuremberg, Germany.

He was a skilled painter and writer, but his most renowned talent was that of print making.

Dürer apprenticed with his father and with local painter Michael Wolgemut.

Dürer is best known for revolutionising paint making and making it an independent art form.

His most famous works include: The Apocalypse, The Large Woodcut Passion cycle and the Life of the Virgin.  

His talents earned his the friendship of some of the most influential people in German society.

He was an official court artist to Maxmilian I and his successor Charles V.

The artist also painted a range of self portraits before his death in 1528. 

Erwin Pokorny, a Dürer specialist said: ‘The question is not whether, but when Dürer was in Vienna,’ he said, citing the mural’s ‘virtuoso brushwork.’

‘In Joachim Sandrart’s biography of Albrecht Dürer, Emperor Maximilian I orders the artist to ‘mark something great on the wall’,’ art historian Michael Rainer told the BDA. ‘We could now have found the location of this anecdote, which until now was misunderstood as mere legend.’

Once research from the mural has been conducted, a report will be published by the Monuments Office in the Austrian Journal for Art and Monument Conservation.

It was previously thought that Dürer had only made one set of wall paintings. These consisted of a decoration for the great hall of Nuremberg town hall which he had designed in 1521.

Despite the fact he designed the painting, the work was actually carried out by his assistants.

In 1630 it was painted over and all traces of his work were destroyed when a bombing hit in 1945.

Even though experts believe the works in Vienna are that of Dürer’s, it is not yet clear if he just commissioned them, or if he actually painted them himself.  

Pokorny had initially believed it was the work of one of his assistants, but after continuous research. now firmly believes that it is the work of Dürer himself.

It is thought that in 1505,  Dürer had stopped of in Vienna, while on his way from Nuremberg to Venice.

One reason for his visit to Vienna, although there is no official documentation to prove this – could be to do with his friendship with scholar Conrad Celtis, who lived in the capital from 1497 until his death in 1508.

It is thought Celtis is shown in Dürer’s 1508 painting of The Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand, which currently sits in the Kunsthistorisches Museum. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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