Exposition : « Albrecht Dürer ‒ Influencer His Followers and Sphere of Influence in Italy », Berlin, Gemäldegalerie, 20 juin-24 septembre 2023
Influencers today use social networks ‒ such as TikTok, Instagram and YouTube ‒ to circulate creative content in the form of photos, short videos and texts. Influencers are very successful with these media and have broad impact and quite a large number of followers. Their chosen contents “influence” and inspire others. Artist Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), from Nuremberg, used the print medium of his day very similarly to how today’s influencers distribute digital images. The (completely analog) circulation of Dürer’s printed images quickly led him to become a known artist who was influential and extremely successful throughout Europe.
Dürer’s art was especially popular south of the Alps. His well-known woodcuts and copperplate engravings influenced and inspired many Italian artists. Some made quite direct use of Dürer’s printed oeuvre by imitating, copying and sometimes publishing or distributing these works under their own name (today, we would call it a profile). Much like today’s social media, there were questions about breaches of copyright and intellectual property even back then. The overlapping ambitions of print and social media to disseminate images and establish audiences created and continue to create a multifaceted and dynamic interplay between copyrights, success and creativity.