"But Dürer, however admirable in other respects - what cannot he express in monochrome, that is with black lines? Light, shade, splendour, the sublime, depths; and, although it has started from the position of a single object, the eye of the observer is offered much more than an aspect ..." (Erasmus of Rotterdam, in de recta Latini Graecique sermonis pronuntiatione, 1528)
To Dürer's about 60 paintings more than a thousand drawings and watercolours, about 250 woodcuts, 96 engravings, 6 etchings, and 3 drypoints should be added. This would mean that the artist Dürer should not be understood or appreciated only through his painting. Dürer was primarily a graphic artist - indubitably the greatest draftsman of his time, and among the most accomplished draftsmen that ever lived.
Dürer was the first German artist to find new opportunities for production and distribution. Technical reproducibility, the possibility of reusing worked wood engraving blocks and copper plates as setting copies and printing high print runs, was something he used to a degree previously unknown. He was the first to introduce the production of printed graphics in his own publishing business on an equal footing with the running of a painter's workshop.