Albrecht Dürer changed the way we saw the world. From his prints of the Apocalypse in 1498—the first works mass-produced by an artist—to his hyper-real images of animals and plants, Dürer proved art is a time-machine.
It allows us to see what we’ve done, and are about to do.
In Albert & the Whale, Philip Hoare sets out to discover why Dürer’s art endures. He encounters medieval alchemists and modernist poets, eccentric emperors and enigmatic stars. He witnesses the miraculous birth of Dürer’s fantastical rhinoceros and his hermaphroditic hare, and traces the fate of the star-crossed leviathan that the artist pursued.
And as he swims through his story, prophetic artists and downed angels ask awkward questions. What’s real or make-believe? Does art have the power to save us? 500 years on, Dürer is still waiting for the answer.
3 am: hanging under a hot moon, in an alchemical sea; it could turn me into anything I wanted to be
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