Albrecht Durer was born in the Imperial Free City of Nuernberg in 1471. He worked first with his father, a Hungarian goldsmith who emigrated to Germany in 1455. By 1484, Durer had begun painting. He was apprenticed to painter and printmaker, Michael Wolgumut in 1486 and began to make woodcuts and copper engravings.
Durer began traveling for study in 1490, visiting Italy, Antwerp and the Low Countries. He was especially influenced by Giovanni Bellini and Andrea Mantegna. From 1496 to 1498, Durer published “The Apocalypse of St. John”, a portfolio of woodcuts, which may have been a veiled expression of support for the Reformation.
Around 1512, Durer became portraitist to some rather influential figures including Maximilian I, and Christian II of Denmark. Durer laid out his theories on proportion in “The Four Books on Human Proportions”, which was published posthumously in 1528.