Memoirs of Journeys to Venice and the Low Countries, by Albrecht Durer

Part I: Letters from Venice to Wilibald Pirkheimer

Venice, 6th January, 1506

To the Honourable and wise Wilibald Pirkheimer, in Nuremberg.

My dear Master, To you and all yours, many happy good New Years. My willing service to you, dear Herr Pirkheimer. Know that I am in good health; may God send you better even than that. Now as to what you commissioned me, namely, to buy a few pearls and precious stones, you must know that I can find nothing good enough or worth the money: everything is snapped up by the Germans.

Those who go about on the Riva always expect four times the value for anything, for they are the falsest knaves that live there. No one expects to get an honest service of them. For that reason some good people warned me to be on my guard against them. They told me that they cheat both man and beast, and that you could buy better things for less money at Frankfort than at Venice.

As for the books which I was to order for you, Imhof has already seen to it, but if you are in need of anything else, let me know, and I shall do it for you with all zeal. And would to God that I could do you some real good service. I should gladly accomplish it, since I know how much you do for me.

And I beg of you be patient with my debt, for I think oftener of it than you do. As soon as God helps me to get home I will pay you honourably, with many thanks; for I have to paint a picture for the Germans, for which they are giving me 110 Rhenish gulden, which will not cost me as much as five. I shall have finished laying and scraping the ground-work in eight days, then I shall at once begin to paint, and if God will, it shall be in its place for the altar a month after Easter.

[Editor note: This refers to the [altarpiece called the] “Madonna of the Rose Garlands,” painted for the chapel of S. Bartolommeo, the burial-place of the German colony. About the year 1600 it was bought for a high price by the Emperor Rudolf II, who is said to have had it carried [over the Alps] by four men all the way to Prague to avoid the risk of damage in transport. [It suffered serious water damage during the Thirty Years’ War of 1618–1648, and many parts of it had to be repainted to replace much of the original paint that was lost, but] it still remains one of the most important [and lavishly colored] of all Dürer’s works.]

The money I hope, if God will, to put by; and from that I will pay you: for I think that I need not send my mother and wife any money at present; I left 10 florins with my mother when I came away; she has since got 9 or 10 florins by selling works of art. Dratzieher has paid her 12 florins, and I have sent her 9 florins by Sebastian Imhof, of which she has to pay Pfinzing and Gartner 7 florins for rent. I gave my wife 12 florins and she got 13 more at Frankfort, making all together 25 florins, so I don’t think she will be in any need, and if she does want anything, her brother will have to help her, until I come home, when I will repay him honourably. Herewith let me commend myself to you.

Given at Venice on the day of the Holy Three Kings (Epiphany), the year 1506. Greet for me Stephen Paumgartner and my other good friends who ask after me.

— Albrecht Dürer

7th February, 1506

First my willing service to you, dear Master. If it is well with you, I am as whole-heartedly glad as I should be for myself. I wrote to you recently. I hope the letter reached you. In the meantime my mother has written to me, chiding me for not writing to you, and has given me to understand that you are displeased with me because I do not write to you; and that I must excuse myself to you fully. And she is much worried about it, as is her wont. Now I do not know what excuse to make, except that I am lazy about writing and that you have not been at home. But as soon as I knew that you were at home or were coming home, I wrote to you at once; I also specially charged Castel (Fugger) to convey my service to you. Therefore I most humbly beg you to forgive me, for I have no other friend on earth but you; but I do not believe you are angry with me, for I hold you as no other than a father.

How I wish you were here at Venice, there are so many good fellows among the Italians who seek my company more and more every day — which is very gratifying to me — men of sense, and scholarly, good lute-players, and pipers, connoisseurs in painting, men of much noble sentiment and honest virtue, and they show me much honour and friendship. On the other hand, there are also amongst them the most faithless, lying, thievish rascals; such as I scarcely believed could exist on earth; and yet if one did not know them, one would think that they were the nicest men on earth. I cannot help laughing to myself when they talk to me: they know that their villainy is well known, but that does not bother them.

I have many good friends among the Italians who warn me not to eat and drink with their painters, for many of them are my enemies and copy my work in the churches and wherever they can find it; afterwards they criticize it and claim that it is not done in the antique style and say it is no good, but Giambellin (Giovanni Bellini) has praised me highly to many gentlemen. He would willingly have something of mine, and came himself to me and asked me to do something for him, and said that he would pay well for it, and everyone tells me what an upright man he is, so that I am really friendly with him. He is very old and yet he is the best painter of all.

[Editor’s note: The character of Bellini agrees with all we know of him. Camerarius tells an amusing story of the two artists, to the effect that Bellini once asked Dürer for one of the brushes with which he painted hairs. Dürer produced several quite ordinary brushes and offered them to Bellini. Bellini replied that he did not mean those, but some brush with the hairs divided which would enable him to draw a number of fine parallel lines such as Dürer did. Dürer assured him that he used no special kind, and proceeded to draw a number of long wavy lines like tresses with such absolute regularity and parallelism that Bellini declared that nothing but seeing it done would have convinced him that such a feat of skill was possible.]

And the thing which pleased me so well eleven years ago pleases me no longer, and if I had not seen it myself, I would not have believed anyone who told me. And you must know too that there are many better painters here than Master Jacob (Jacopo de Barbari), though Antonio Kolb would take an oath that there was no better painter on earth than Jacob. Others sneer at him and say if he were any good, he would stay here. I have only today begun the sketch of my picture, for my hands are so scabby that I could not work, but I have cured them.

And now be lenient with me and do not get angry so quickly, but be gentile like me. You will not learn from me, I do not know why. My dear, I should like to know whether any of your loves is dead — that one close by the water, for instance, or the one like [drawing of a flower] or [drawing of a brush] or [drawing of a running dog]‘s girl so that you might get another in her stead.

Given at Venice at the ninth hour of the night on Saturday after Candlemas in the year 1506. [Editor’s note: Reckoning from sunset, at this season [this] would be about 2:30 a.m.] Give my service to Stephen Paumgartner and to Masters Hans Harsdorfer and Volkamer.

— Albrecht Dürer

28th February, 1506

First my willing service to you, dear Herr Pirkheimer. If things go well with you, then I am indeed glad. Know, too, that by the grace of God I am doing well and working fast. Still I do not expect to have finished before Whitsuntide. I have sold all my pictures except one. For two I got 24 ducats, and the other three I gave for these three rings, which were valued in the exchange as worth 24 ducats, but I have shown them to some good friends and they say they are only worth 22, and as you wrote to me to buy you some jewels, I thought that I would send you the rings by Franz Imhof. Show them to people who understand them, and if you like them, keep them for what they are worth. In case you do not want them, send them back by the next messenger, for here at Venice a man who helped to make the exchange will give me 12 ducats for the emerald and 10 ducats for the ruby and diamond, so that I need not lose more than 2 ducats.

I wish you had occasion to come here, I know the time would pass quickly, for there are so many nice men here, real artists. And I have such a crowd of foreigners (Italians) about me that I am forced sometimes to shut myself up, and the gentlemen all wish me well, but few of the painters.

Dear Master, Andreas Kunhofer sends you his service and means to write to you by the next courier. Herewith let me be commended to you, and I also commend my mother to you. I am wondering greatly why she has not written to me for so long, and as for my wife, I begin to think that I have lost her, and I am surprised too that you do not write to me, but I have read the letter which you wrote to Sebastian Imhof about me. Please give the two enclosed letters to my mother, and have patience, I pray, till God brings me home, when I will honourably repay you. My greetings to Stephen Pirkheimer and other good friends, and let me know if any of your loves are dead. Read this according to the sense: I am hurried.

Given in Venice, the Sunday before Whitsunday, the year 1506.

— Albrecht Dürer

[p.s.] Tomorrow it is good to confess.

8th March, 1506

First my willing service to you, dear Herr Pirkheimer. I send you herewith a ring with a sapphire about which you wrote so urgently. I could not send it sooner, for the past two days I have been running around to all the German and Italian goldsmiths that are in all Venice with a good assistant whom I hired: and we made comparisons, but were unable to match this one at the price, and only after much entreaty could I get it for 18 ducats 4 marcelli from a man who was wearing it on his own hand and who let me have it as a favour, as I gave him to understand that I wanted it for myself. And as soon as I had bought it a German goldsmith wanted to give me 3 ducats more for it than I paid, so I hope that you will like it. Everybody says that it is a good stone, and that in Germany it would be worth about 50 florins; however, you will know whether they tell truth or lies. I understand nothing about it. I had first of all bought an amethyst for 12 ducats from a man whom I thought was a good friend, but he deceived me, for it was not worth 7; but the matter was arranged between us by some good fellows: I will give him back the stone and make him a present of a dish of fish. I was glad to do so and took my money back quickly. As my good friend values the ring, the stone is not worth much more than 10 Rhenish florins, whilst the gold of the ring weighs about up to 5 florins, so that I have not gone beyond the limit set me, as you wrote “from 15 to 20 florins.” But the other stone I have not yet been able to buy, for 10 one finds them rarely in pairs; but I will do all I can about it. They say here that such trumpery fool’s work is to be had cheaper in Germany, especially now at the Frankfurt Fair. For the Italians take such stuff abroad, and they laugh at me, especially about the jacinth cross, when I speak of 2 ducats, so write quickly and tell me what I am to do. I have heard of a good diamond ornament in a certain place, but I do not yet know what it will cost. I shall buy it for you until you write again, for emeralds are as dear as anything I have seen in all my days. It is easy enough for anyone to get a small amethyst if he thinks it worth 20 or 25 ducats.

It really seems to me you must have taken a mistress; only beware you don’t get a master. But you are wise enough about your own affairs.

Dear Pirkheimer, Andreas Kunhofer sends you his service. He intends in the meantime to write to you, and he prays you if necessary to explain for him to the Council why he does not stay at Padua; he says there is nothing there for him to learn. Don’t be angry I pray you with me for not sending all the stones on this occasion, for I could not get them all ready. My friends tell me that you should have the stone set with a new foil and it will look twice as good again, for the ring is old, and the foil spoiled. And I beg you too to tell my mother to write me soon and have good care of herself. Herewith I commend myself to you.

Given at Venice on the second Sunday in Lent, 1506.

— Albrecht Dürer

[p.s.] Greetings to your loves.

2nd April, 1506

First my willing service to you, dear Sir.

I received a letter from you on the Thursday before Palm Sunday, together with the emerald ring, and went immediately to the man from whom I got the rings. He will give me back my money for it, although it is a thing that he does not like to do; however, he has given me his word and he must hold to that. Do you know that the jewelers buy emeralds abroad and sell them here at a profit? But my friends tell me that the other two rings are well worth 6 ducats apiece, for they say that they are fine and clear and contain no flaws. And they say that instead of taking them to the valuer you should enquire for such rings as they can show you and then compare them and see whether they are like them; and if when I got them by exchange I had been willing to lose 2 ducats on the three rings, Bernard Holzbeck, who was present at the transaction, would have bought them of me. I have since sent you a sapphire ring by Franz Imhof, I hope it has reached you. I think I made a good bargain at that place, for they offered to buy it of me at a profit on the spot. But I shall find out from you, for you know that I understand nothing about such things and am forced to trust those who advise me.

The painters here you must know are very unfriendly to me. They have summoned me three times before the magistrates, and I have had to pay 4 florins to their School. You must know too that I might have gained much money if I had not undertaken to make the painting for the Germans, for there is a great deal of work in it and I cannot well finish it before Whitsuntide; yet they only pay me 85 ducats for it. [Editor’s note: Bellini at this time received 100 ducats for a large picture]. That, you know, will go in living expenses, and then I have bought some things, and have sent some money away, so that I have not much in hand now; but I have made up my mind not to leave here until God enables me to repay you with thanks and to have too florins over besides. I should easily earn this if I had not got to do the German picture, for, except the painters, everyone wishes me well.

Please tell my mother to speak to Wolgemut about my brother, and to ask him whether he can give him work until I get back, or whether he can find employment with others. [Editor’s note: Dürer’s brother was Hans Dürer, who was fifteen at this date. He became a painter of second-rate ability, and afterwards helped Albrecht in the decoration of the Emperor Maximilian’s prayer book]. I should like to have brought him with me to Venice, which would have been useful both to me and to him and he would have learned the language, but she was afraid that the sky would fall on him. I pray you keep an eye on him: women are no use for that. Tell the boy, as you can so well, to be studious and independent till I come, and not to rely on his mother, for I cannot do everything although I shall do my best. If it were only for myself, I should not starve; but to provide for so many is too hard for me, and nobody is throwing money away.

Now I commend myself to you, and tell my mother to be ready to sell at the Crown Fair. I am expecting my wife to come home, and have written to her too about everything. I shall not purchase the diamond ornament until you write. I do not think I shall be able to return home before next Autumn. What I earn for the picture which was to have been ready by Whitsuntide will all be gone in living expenses and payments. But what I gain afterwards I hope to save. If you think it right, say nothing of this and I shall keep putting it off from day to day and writing as though I was just coming. Indeed I am quite irresolute; I do not know myself what I shall do.

Write to me again soon.

Given on Thursday before Palm Sunday in the year 1506.

— Albrecht Dürer

[p.s.] Your servant

23rd April, 1506

First my willing service to you, dear Sir. I wonder why you do not write to me to say how you like the sapphire ring which Hans Imhof has sent you by the messenger Schon from Augsburg. I do not know whether it has reached you or not. I have been to Hans Imhof and enquired, and he says that he knows no reason why it should not have reached you, and there is a letter with it which I wrote to you, and the stone is done up in a sealed packet and has the same size as is drawn here, for 1 drew it in my note-book. I managed to get it only after hard bargaining. The stone is clear and fine, and my friends say it is very good for the money I gave for it. It weighs about 3 florins Rhenish, and I gave for it 18 ducats and 4 marzelle, and if it should be lost I should be half mad, for it has been valued at quite twice what I gave for it. There were people who would have given me more for it the moment I had bought it. So, dear Herr Pirkheimer, tell Hans Imhof to enquire of the messenger what he has done with the letter and packet. The messenger was sent off by Hans Imhof the younger on the 11th March.

Now may God keep you, and let me commend my mother to you. Tell her to take my brother to Wolgemut that he may work and not be idle.

Ever your servant.

Read by the sense. I am in a hurry, for I have seven letters to write, part written. I am sorry for Herr Lorenz. Greet him and Stephen Paumgartner.

Given at Venice in the year 1506, on St. Mark’s Day.

Write me an answer soon, for I shall have no rest till I hear. Andreas Kunhofer is deadly ill as I have just heard.

— Albrecht Dürer

28th August, 1506

To the first greatest man in the world; your servant and slave, Albert Dürer, sends salutation to his magnificent Master Wilibaldo Pirkamer. By my faith, I hear gladly and with great pleasure of your health and great honour, and I marvel how it is possible for a man like you to stand against so many, tyrants, bullies, and soldiers. Not otherwise than by the grace of God. When I read your letter about this strange abuse it gave me great fright; I thought it was a serious matter. But I warrant you frighten even Schott’s men, for you look wild enough, especially on holy days with your skipping gait! But it is very improper for such a soldier to smear himself with civet. You want to be a regular silk tail, and you think that if only you manage to please the girls, it is all right. If you were only as taking a fellow as I am, I should not be so provoked. You have so many loves that it would take you a month and more to visit each.

However, let me thank you for having arranged my affairs so satisfactorily with my wife. I know there is no lack of wisdom in you. If only you were as gentle as I am, you would have all the virtues. Thank you, too, for everything you are doing for me, if only you would not bother me about the rings. If they do not please you, break off their heads and throw them in the privy, as Peter Weisweber says.

What do you mean by setting me to such dirty work, I have become a gentiluomo at Venice. I have heard that you can make lovely rhymes; you would be a find for our fiddlers here. They play so beautifully that they weep over their own music. Would God that our Rechenmeister girl could hear them, she would cry too. At your command I will again lay aside my anger and behave even better than usual.

But I cannot get away from here in two months, for I have not enough money yet to start myself off, as I have written to you before; and so I pray you if my mother comes to you for a loan, let her have 10 florins till God helps me out. Then I will scrupulously repay you the whole.

With this I am sending you the glass things by the messenger. And as for the two carpets, Anthon Kolb will help me to buy the most beautiful, the broadest, and the cheapest. As soon as I have them I’ll give them to Imhof the younger to pack off to you. I shall also look after the crane’s feathers. I have not been able to find any as yet. But of swan’s feathers for writing with there are plenty. How would it do if you stuck them on your hats in the meantime?

A book printer of whom I enquired tells me that he knows of no Greek books that have been brought out recently, but any that he comes across he will acquaint me with that I may write to you about them.

And please inform me what sort of paper you want me to buy, for I know of no finer quality than we get at home.

As to the Historical pieces, I see nothing extraordinary in what the Italians make that would be especially useful for your work. It is always the same thing. You yourself know more than they paint. I have sent you a letter recently by the messenger Kannengiesser. Also I should like to know how you are managing with Kunz Imhof.

Herewith let me commend myself to you. Give my willing service to our prior. Tell him to pray God for me that I may be protected, and especially from the French sickness, for there is nothing I fear more now and nearly everyone has it. Many men are quite eaten up and die of it. And greet Stephen Paumgartner and Herr Lorenz and those who kindly ask after me.

Given at Venice on the 18th August, 1506

— Albrecht Dürer

Noricus civis

P.S. Lest I forget, Andreas is here and sends you his service. He is not yet strong, and is in want of money. His long illness and debts have eaten up everything he had. I have myself lent him 8 ducats, but don’t tell anyone, in case it should come back to him. He might think I told you in bad faith. You must know, too, that he behaves himself so honourably that everyone wishes him well. I have a mind, if the King comes to Italy, to go with him to Rome.

8th September, 1506

Most learned, approved, wise, master of many languages, keen to detect all uttered lies, and quick to recognize real truth, honourable, Herr Wilibald Pirkheimer, your humble servant, Albrecht Dürer, wishes you all health, great and worthy honour, with the devil as much of such nonsense as you like.

I will wager that for this you too would think me an orator of a hundred headings. A chamber must have more than four corners which is to contain gods of memory. I will not addle my pate with it. I will recommend it to you, but I believe that however many chambers there may be in the head, you would have a little bit in each of them. The Margrave would not grant a long enough audience. A hundred headings and to each head say a hundred words: that takes 9 days, 7 hours, 52 minutes, not counting the sighs, which I have not yet reckoned; but you could not get through the whole in one go: it would draw itself out like some dotard’s speech.

I have taken every trouble about the carpets, but I cannot find any wide ones; they are all narrow and long. However, I still look out for them every day, and so does Anthon Kolb.

I gave your respects to Bernhard Hirschvogel and he sent you his service. He is full of sorrow for the death of his son, the nicest boy that I have ever seen. I can’t get any of your fool’s feathers. Oh, if you were only here, how you would admire these fine Italian soldiers! How often I think of you! Would God that you and Kuntz Kamerer could see them! They have scythe-shaped lances with 218 points; if they only touch a man with them he dies, for they are all poisoned. Heigho! but I can do it well, I’ll be an Italian soldier. The Venetians are collecting many men; so is the Pope and the King of France. What will come of it I don’t know, for people scoff at our King a great deal.

Wish Stephen Paumgartner much happiness from me. I can’t wonder at his having taken a taken wife. My greeting to Borsch, Herr Lorenz, and our fair friend, as well as to your Rechenmeister girl, and thank your Club for its greeting; says it’s a dirty one. I sent you olive-wood from Venice to Augsburg, where I let it stay, a full ten hundred weight. But it says it won’t wait, hence the stink.

My picture [the self-portrait Dürer painted?], you must know, says it would give a ducat for you to see it. It is well painted and finely coloured. I have got much praise but little profit by it. I could have easily earned 200 ducats in the time, and I have had to decline big commissions in order to come home.

I have shut up all the painters, who used to say that I was good at engraving, but that in painting I didn’t know how to handle my colours. Now they all say they never saw better colouring.

My French mantle greets you, and so does my Italian coat. It seems to me that you smell of gallantry. I can scent it from here; and they say here, that when you go courting, you pretend to be no more than 25 years old. Oh, yes! Multiply that and I‘ll believe it. My friend, there ‘s a devil of a lot of Italians here who are just like you. I don’t know how it is!

The Doge and the Patriarch have seen my picture. Herewith let me commend myself as your servant. I really must sleep, for it’s striking seven at night, and I have already written to the Prior of the Augustines, to my father-inlaw, to Mistress Dietrich, and to my wife, and they are all sheets cram full. So I have had to hurry over this. Read according to the sense. You would do it better if you were writing to princes. Many good nights to you, and days too. Given at Venice on Our Lady’s Day in September.

You needn’t lend my wife and mother anything. They have got money enough.

— Albert Dürer

23 Sept. 1506

Your letter telling me of the overflowing praise that you received from princes and nobles gave me great allegrezza. [Editor’s note: Allegrezza means “joy;” in Venetian in original]. You must have changed completely to have become so gentle; I must do likewise when I meet you again. Know also that my picture is finished, likewise another quadro, [Editor’s note: quadro is Venetian for “painting”] the like of which I never made before. And as you are so pleased with yourself, let me tell you now that there is no better Madonna picture in all the land, for all the painters praise it as the nobles do you. They say that they have never seen a nobler, more charming painting.

The oil for which you wrote I am sending by Kannengiesser. And burnt glass that I sent you by Farber — tell me if it reached you safely. As for the carpets, I have not bought any yet, for I cannot find any square ones. They are all narrow and long. If you would like any of these, I will willingly buy them; let me know about it.

Know also that in four weeks at the latest I shall be finished here, for I have to paint first some portraits that I have promised, and in order that I may get home soon, I have refused, since my picture was finished, orders for more than 2,000 ducats; all my neighbours know of this.

Now let me commend myself to you. I had much more to write, but the messenger is ready to start: besides, I hope, if God will, to be with you again soon and to learn new wisdom from you. Bernhard Holzbeck told me great things of you, but I believe that he did so because you have become his brother-inlaw. But nothing makes me more angry than to hear anyone say that you are handsome, for then I should have to be ugly; that would make me mad.

The other day I found a gray hair on my head, which was produced by sheer misery and annoyance. I think I am fated to have evil days. My French mantle and the doublet and the brown coat send you a hearty greeting. But I should like to see what your drinking club can do that you hold yourself so high.

Given the year 1506 on Wednesday after St. Matthew’s

— Albrecht Dürer

About the 13th October, 1506

Once I know that you are aware of my devotion to your service, there is no need to write about it; but so much the more necessary is it for me to tell you of the great delight it gives me to hear of the high honour and fame that you have attained to by your manly wisdom and learned skill. This is the more to be wondered at, for seldom or never can the like be found in a young body; but it comes to you by the special grace of God, as it does to me. How pleased we both feel when we think well of ourselves, I with my picture, and you con vostra [with your] learning! When anyone praises us we hold up our head and believe him, yet perhaps he is only some false flatterer who is making fun of us, so don’t credit anyone who praises you, for you have no notion how unmannerly you are.

I can readily portray you to myself standing before the Margrave and making pretty speeches. You carry on just as though you were making love to the Rosentaler girl, cringing so.

It did not escape me, when you wrote the last letter, you were full of amorous thoughts. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, for making yourself out so good looking when you are so old. Your flirting is like a big shaggy dog playing with a little kitten. If you were only as nice and sleek as I am, I might understand it; but when I get to be a burgomaster I will shame you with the Luginsland [Editor’s note: this was a Nuremberg prison], as you do the pious Zamener and me. I will have you shut up there for once with the Rechenmeister, Rosentaler, Gartner, Schlitz, and Por girls, and many others whom for shortness I will not name. They must deal with you. They ask after me more than after you, however, for you yourself write that both girls and ladies ask after me — that is a sign of my virtue! But if God brings me home again safely, I do not know how I shall get along with you with your great wisdom: but I ‘m glad on account of your virtue and good nature; and your dogs will be the better for it, for you will not beat them lame any more. But if you are so highly respected at home, you will not dare to be seen speaking with a poor painter in the streets, it would be a great disgrace, con poltrone di pintore.

Oh, dear Herr Pirkheimer, this very minute, while I was writing to you in good humour, the fire alarm sounded and six houses over by Peter Pender’s are burned, and woolen cloth of mine, for which I paid only yesterday 8 ducats, is burned; so I too am in trouble. There are often fire alarms here.

As for your plea that I should come home quickly, I will come just as soon as I can; but I must first gain money for my expenses. I have paid out about 100 ducats for colours and other things, and I have ordered two carpets which I shall pay for tomorrow; but I could not get them cheaply. I will pack them up with my linen.

As for your previous comment that I should come home soon or else you would give my wife a “washing,” you are not permitted to do so, since you would ride her to death.

Know, too, that I decided to learn dancing and went twice to the school, for which I had to pay the master a ducat. No one could get me to go there again. To learn dancing, I should have had to pay away all that I have earned, and at the end I should have known nothing about it.

As for the glass, the messenger Farber will bring it to you. I cannot find out anywhere that they are printing any new Greek books. I will pack up a ream of your paper for you. I thought Keppler had more like it; but I have not been able to get the feathers you wanted, and so I bought white ones instead. If I find the green ones, I will buy some and bring them with me.

Stephen Paumgartner has written to me to buy him fifty Carnelian beads for a rosary. I have ordered them, but they are dear. I could not get any larger ones, and shall send them to him by the next messenger.

As to your question as to when I shall come home, I tell you, so that my lords may make their arrangements, that I shall have finished here in ten days. After that I should like to travel to Bologna to learn the secrets of the art of perspective, which a man there is willing to teach me. I should stay there about eight or ten days and then come back to Venice; after that I should come with the next messenger.

How I shall freeze after this sun! Here I am a gentleman, at home a parasite. Let me know how old Dame Kormer behaves as a bride, and that you will not grudge her to me. There are many things about which I should like to write to you, but I shall soon be with you.

Given at Venice about the 14th day after Michaelmas, 1506.

— Albrecht Dürer

P.S. When will you let me know whether any of your children have died? You also wrote me once that Joseph Rummel had married —— z’s daughter, and forgot to mention whose. How should I know what you mean? If I only had my cloth back! I am afraid my mantle has been burned too. That would drive me crazy. I seem doomed to bad luck; not more than three weeks ago a man ran away who owed me 8 ducats.

Last updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 20:37