Kleinmeister. The Legacy of Dürer in the Mariano Moret Collection

Kleinmeister. The Legacy of Dürer in the Mariano Moret Collection
València Fine Arts Museum
Joanes Room of temporary exhibitions
May 17, 2018 - July 29, 2018

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The transition from the fifteenth to the sixteenth century in Germany was marked by a series of important changes which brought the Middle Ages to a close and ushered in the Early Modern era, making the years around the turn of the century a fascinating period in history. Some of the factors that sparked off these transformations were the invention of printing by Gutenberg in 1440, the arrival in Germany of the innovations of the Renaissance, facilitated by Albrecht Dürer’s two journeys to Italy in 1494 and 1505, and the Protestant Reformation set in motion by Luther in 1517 when he nailed his 95 theses against indulgences to the door of the church in Wittenberg. All these events helped to bring about a golden age of printmaking in Germany, whose presiding genius was incontestably Dürer, one of the most important printmakers in history. His virtuosity and revolutionary technical discoveries expanded the possibilities of this art to previously unsuspected limits, especially when we consider that this young artistic discipline had emerged only a few decades before. Around Dürer, in the thriving city of Nuremberg, arose an important group of printmakers known as the Little Masters (Kleinmeister), who included the Beham brothers, Georg Pencz and Heinrich Aldegrever. These artists also contributed decisively to the brilliance of that crucial period in the history of printmaking. The Little Masters were characterised by producing prints in small formats, many of them true miniatures, which required enormous technical skill to execute. They depicted a wide variety of subjects in their works, from the most canonical and elevated, such as biblical or mythological scenes, to the most worldly and popular, such as representations of everyday life which gave rise to some of the first genre scenes in the history of art. Among their works we also find prints that were highly controversial for their markedly erotic content, as well as numerous ornament prints which radiate exuberant creativity and fantasy. The lives of the Little Masters, true citizens of their time, were as turbulent and enthralling as the age in which they found themselves living, and this shines through in their artistic creations, adding to their appeal.

Through 141 works — 127 prints by various German artists belonging to the Mariano Moret Collection and 14 by Dürer from the Biblioteca Nacional de España — the Kleinmeister exhibition offers a wide-ranging overview of this fascinating period of art history. This is the first time a Spanish museum has devoted an exhibition exclusively to the work of the Little Masters.

It also presents an important series of prints by the Hopfers, a family of printmakers credited with inventing etching. This complex intaglio technique was to be the form of expression favoured by future geniuses of printmaking such as Rembrandt, Piranesi and Goya.

As a complement to the exhibition, the application for mobile devices Kleinmeister has been created through which you can access different interactive, augmented reality and virtual reality didactic contents around the Kleinmeister exhibition and the world of Old Master Prints.

Kleinmeister exhibition presentation video

  Free download Kleinmeister/Colección Mariano Moret App in App Store
  Free download Kleinmeister/Colección Mariano Moret App in Google Play