One of the most talented and diverse Renaissance artists of all time, Dürer was born on 21 May 1471, third child and second son of his parents, who had between fourteen and eighteen children. A supremely gifted and versatile German artist of the Renaissance period, one of the strongest artistic and commercial centers in Europe during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. He was a brilliant painter, draftsman, and writer, though his first and probably greatest artistic impact was in the medium of printmaking that had a illustrative, graphical visionary quality.
He produced the earliest known self-portrait drawing in European art when he was 13, and showed such a precocious talent in drawing that he started as an apprentice to Michael Wolgemut at the age of fifteen in 1486 and became very famous by his mid-twenties. He has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance.
Dürer exerted a huge influence on the artists of succeeding generations, especially in printmaking, the medium through which his contemporaries mostly experienced his art, as his paintings were predominately in private collections located in only a few cities.
His success in spreading his reputation across Europe through prints were undoubtedly an inspiration for major artists such as Raphael, Titian, and Parmigianino, all of whom collaborated with printmakers in order to promote and distribute their work.
He died at 56, leaving a huge sum of artworks and engravings.
Read more about what his work meant and contemporary vision here: