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Bryan Gallery Exhibits historic prints by Renaissance master Dürer


   A collection of 47 original prints by the German artist Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) is on display at CCU’s Rebecca Randall Bryan Art Gallery through Nov. 23, the first exhibit of Renaissance art in the gallery’s 11-year history. 

   Titled “Discovering the Dürer Cipher: Hidden Secrets in Plain Sight,” the exhibit features prints from the private collection of Elizabeth Maxwell-Garner, who gave a lecture as part of the exhibit’s opening exploring her theories regarding secret messages that Dürer worked into the engravings.

   Dürer is a towering figure in the history of Renaissance intellectual life. Based in Nuremberg, he was a painter, printmaker, engraver, mathematician and theorist. A contemporary of Leonardo da Vinci, Dürer produced a monumental body of work including paintings, altarpieces, woodcuts and copper engravings. His work is known for its brilliant detail, intellectual scope and psychological depth.

   “Having so many works in South Carolina by one of the masters of the Renaissance may never happen again in my lifetime,” says Jim Arendt, director of the Bryan Art Gallery.

    The prints in the exhibit were produced during Dürer’s lifetime and include engravings from his famous “Apocalypse” series, “Melencolia I,” “Man of Sorrows” and his studies of St. Jerome.

    “Prints were the Internet of their day,” says Arendt. “They allowed common people who couldn’t afford paintings to possess great works of art. Today we live in a sea of images, and it’s difficult to realize how precious these prints were 500 years ago. They belong to everyone.”