Albrecht Dürer was the greatest German artist of his time. He expressed himself in woodcuts, paintings and engravings.
He showed skill as an artist even at age 13. By the time he was in his twenties, he was known throughout Europe.
Dürer was inspired by Italy, the arts center of Europe. Some of his most beautiful creations were based on scenery and works of art he saw theree.
500 years ago, painters were not respected in Germanu, and even an artist as famous as Dürer was probably considered nothing more than a talented craftsman.
But you would never guess by looking at the self-portrait - that is what makes this picture so special.
In his self-portrait Dürer paints himself as a gentleman, worthy of anyone's respect.
He painted this portrait when he was 27, and to look at him, you would think he was more a prince than a painter.
He sits regally, wearing expensive leather gloves, pleated linen shirt, elegant tasseled cap, and fine cape.
Dürer was quite wealthy at this time, so it is easy to believe that he owned such exquisite clothing. His intelligent eyes peer out of the canvas, and his shoulder-length hair is delicately curled.
It is hard to look at this painting and not be impresssed by Dürer.
But Dürer is trying to do more than impress us. He wants to convince us that art is a respectable profession, and that all artists deserve respect.