I’ve been thinking about Albrecht Durer of late. Must reread the remarkable book by Ervin Panofsky. His images are timeless, I still see his rabbits and still life’s on notecards, often with no credit. He was the master of the lost art of engraving. His paintings were remarkable, but my favorites are the series of self portraits. Another thing unique, is that he may have been the first artist to publish a book of his own work. Nice touch.
But my thoughts tend to go to his study of typography, and his desire to create the perfect typeface. The technical drawings that show the proportions of counters and serifs, and the slight swashes are works of art, standing on their own. He dedication to communication, language, and typography may have contributed to his death. It was mid-winter, and very cold. Durer may have contracted typhus or malaria, while visiting the Low Countries. He had heard that a Spanish galleon had sailed into a Dutch harbor, and on board were several codexes from the New World that were quite beautiful and rare. Most of the codexes of Mayan or Aztec culture were gathered and burned by the church. These had somehow escaped the fires and Durer had to see them first hand. He traveled in the midst of winter several hundred miles to see them. And eventually he paid for it with his life. The odd thing is that I can see that he might have thought it was worth it.