DÜRER, Albrecht
(b. 1471, Nürnberg, d. 1528, Nürnberg)

Emperor Maximilian I

Tempera on canvas, 83 x 65 cm
Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg

In 1518, Dürer went to the Diet of Augsburg following a delegation of dignitaries from Nuremberg. On that occasion, he did the portrait of Jakob Fugger (Staatsgalerie, Augsburg) and also one in a half-bust of the emperor, then fifty-nine. It is a pencil drawing carried out on 28 June (as indicated by the inscription on the same paper).

Shortly thereafter, probably still during his sojourn in Augsburg, he did a second portrait, still in a half-bust, but this time painted on canvas: Dürer probably preferred canvas to panel because it simplified the execution, for the painting as well as for the transportation. This painting, now in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, did not have the inscription on parchment, which was added only after the emperor's death on 12 January 1519. The inscription is in German. It was transcribed, translated in Latin, in capital letters on the third panel portrait, now in Vienna.