Deconstructing Dürer




If we examine the elements of mark making that combine to create an Albrecht Dürer engraving we notice that these elements can be broken into more or less distinct categories. Sometimes line is used in a more simple and solitary fashion, sometimes collectively or sometimes in very complex dense arrangements (moving from the top down in the chart above). One could argue for other categories of line than the ones listed above but for simplicity's sake they suit the purpose. Line can be directional, flowing (legato), stippled (staccato), or edge defining (organic). Dürer's greatness is his range and his ability to manage his abundance of mark with clear and well composed compositions.



As an idea I took one of the below contemporary paintings and translated the composition and color into various equivalents in black and white sections of mark making by appropriating Dürer's line work. It is helpful to think how mark making in black and white can create passages of a vibrant or subdued nature in the same way that color can.