Albrecht Dürer - Marriage

In 1494, Albrecht Dürer finished his Wanderjahre, and returned to Nuremberg.

In July, he married Agnes Frey, the daughter of Hans Frey, a man of high position in Nuremberg, and Anna Rummel .

Albrecht Dürer: Portrait of His Wife

Mein Agnes, 1494
Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna

Agnes was a pretty woman, but it was not beauty, or other personal traits of her, leading Albrecht into the marriage. The match was a matter arranged entirely between the fathers, and it appears that the artist had little or no knowledge of her before the marriage.

In his diary, Dürer notes that Hans Frey “gave me his daughter, by name Jungfrau Agnes, and he gave me with her two hundred florins. The wedding took place on the Monday before St. Margaret's Day (July 7), 1494.”

Agnes Frey was a pious and faithful wife, who loved him in a sort of selfish fashion. However, she was not able to comprehend the height of his artist nature, and, unwillingly, did not bring much inspiration and joyousness into his life.

Dürer was silent concerning his domestic life. He rarely mentioned his wife in letters or his journal, and, when he does, the words are not those of a loving husband. They lived in his father's house. After the death of his father in 1509, he bought what is now known as the "Dürer House" in Nuremberg, his mother also living with them. They did not have any children.

In the year of his marriage, Dürer became a member of the Nuremberg painters guild. According to Sandrart , his masterpiece on this occasion was a pen-drawing of “Orpheus Slain By Bacchantes.”

In autumn, as a plague outbreak hit Nuremberg, Dürer left for Italy, alone. There is no explanation why he left his wife behind. He went to Venice, and probably Padua and Mantua. During his journey he created a number of wonderful landscape watercolors, with subjects from the South Tirol Alps.

In the spring of 1495 he returned to Nuremberg.

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