OIL PAINTS THAT COULD KILL: DID ALBRECHT AND MARGRET DURER POISON THEIR CUSTOMERS WITH THEIR PAINTINGS? PART II

By Dr. Elizabeth Garner and Joe Kiernan, copyright January 2014

POISON PAINTINGS

In PART I of this series you were informed about how POISONOUS the pigments were that Albrecht or Margret Durer used in paintings, especially the reds, the greens, the blues, the whites, the yellows and the blacks. And we learned that German curators have already established that many of the paintings are overpainted, thus not sealingoff the poison pigment(s) by either those who were jealous, understood the Cipher and wished to cover it up, or were bad restorers.

Even if a Dürer sealed a painting, all they would have to do is overpaint on the sealed coat to poison clients, just even a little bit.  Or if any paintings were covered with new pigments to conceal any trace of the Cipher by others who realized there were clues or were doing restoration, the new paint would be sitting on the surface in brilliant fashion poisoning by the day. German curators have already proved  there are many areas of overpaintings in the Dürer’s paintings.

WERE ANY PAINTINGS UNSEALED?  OR OVERPAINTED AND UNSEALED?

THE ANSWER IS YES.   Even if a Dürer sealed a painting, all they would have to do is overpaint on the sealed coat to poison clients, just even a little bit.  Or if any paintings were covered with new pigments to conceal any trace of the Cipher by others who realized there were clues or were doing restoration, the new paint would be sitting on the surface in brilliant fashion poisoning by the day. German curators have already proved  there are many areas of overpaintings in the Dürer’s paintings.

WHO THE DURER’S HATED-AS SHOWN BY COLOR

You are now going to see who the Durers hated as obviously shown by the colors he selected, starting from the end of his life.  There are too many paintings that the Durers made sure were poisonous, but there are so many paintings, we will only be giving some of the top most obvious examples in this second part and continue in PART III.

THE FOUR APOSTLES

Dürer did not paint these four paintings on commission. It was he who wanted to donate them to Nuremberg, his native city. On 6 October 1526 the artist offered The Four Holy Men to the city fathers of Nuremberg: `I have been intending, for a long time past, to show my respect for your excellencies by the presentation of some humble picture of mine as a remembrance; but I have been prevented from so doing by the imperfection and insignificance of my works… Now, however, that I have just painted a panel upon which I have bestowed more trouble than on any other painting, I considered none more worthy to keep it as a memorial than your excellencies.’ As it was common in many cities in Italy to bestow the town hall with a work of art that would serve as an example of buon governo, so did Dürer want to provide his native city with a work of his that had been purposefully made to this end.

The council gratefully accepted the gift, hanging the two works in the upper government chamber of the city hall. Dürer was awarded an honorarium of 100 florins. The four monumental figures remained in the municipality of Nuremberg until 1627, when, following threats of repression, they had to be sold to the elector of Bavaria, Maximilian I, a great enthusiast of Dürer’s work. On that occasion, however, the prince had the inscriptions, at the bottom of the paintings, sawed off and sent back to Nuremberg, as they were considered heretical and injurious to his position as the sovereign Catholic. The city handed them over to the museum in Munich in 1922, where they were rejoined with their respective panels.

The Four Apostles

Notice that these paintings are almost all lead white, vermillions, green, orpiment, and black.  Albrecht really wanted to take revenge on the whole government, the CITY COUNCIL, where every day they would be inhaling the noxious fumes. He even donated them! and got paid for his work!

WAY TO CALVARY, 1527, 

Made for EMPEROR CHARLES V, 1527, the boy king from whom Albrecht had to beg for his pension back. I don’t think you can find a blacker black painting with white lead poison than this.  It speaks for itself.  The Black pigments were DEADLY.

 

Way to Calvary made for the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, the son of Maximillian

PORTRAIT OF HIERONYMOUS HOLZSCHUHER

Portrait of Hieronymous Holzschuher

One of the top Nuremberg Patricians.  Lead White, Black, some orpiment

JACOB FUGGER

Jacob Fugger, the Wealthy

The presence of this portrait is documented, in the eighteenth century, in the gallery of the elector of Bavaria. Because of successive restorations, the top layer of colour is missing.

During the Diet of Augsburg, in 1518, Dürer portrayed Jakob Fugger in a charcoal drawing. The final painting, on canvas, differs from the drawing in the wealthier clothing of the subject, and, above all, in the framing: a half-bust in the drawing, a half-length in the painting.

 

Everybody hated the Fuggers in Nuremberg.  Blues, Lead white, black

EMPEROR MAXIMILLIAN

HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR MAXIMILLIAN

Look at how green the background is, with reds, orpiment, white lead and black. Albrecht really hated his patron, two prints tell of his biggest humiliations and the Emperor didn’t even pay Albrecht for one year.

PORTRAIT OF BERHNARD VON REESEN

The man in the portrait holds a message on which the first few letters of his name can be read `P[or B]ernh’, the rest being hidden by the fingers of his left hand. This is almost certainly the painting to which Dürer refers in his Antwerp diary in late March 1521, recording that he had `made a portrait of Bernhart von Resten in oils’ for which he had been paid eight florins. Dürer’s reference is probably to Bernhard von Reesen (1491-1521), a Danzig merchant whose family had important business links with Antwerp. His name suggests that his family originated from Rees, a town on the Lower Rhine 100 miles east of Antwerp.

PORTRAIT OF BERNHARD VON RESEESEN

Look at how much red, black and lead white is in this painting

THE 1521 ST. JEROME

Dürer painted St Jerome in Antwerp in March 1521 and presented the panel to his friend Rodrigo Fernandez d’Almada. He wrote in his diary: `I painted a Jerome carefully in oils and gave it to Rodrigo of Portugal.’ The panel was displayed in the merchant’s private chapel in Antwerp and was later taken back to Portugal. It is the only religious picture that Dürer painted in the Netherlands.

The figure of the saint is based on a drawing of an old bearded man. On the drawing, Dürer inscribed: `The man was 93 years old and yet healthy and strong in Antwerp.’

The 1521 St Jerome painting

This is an extremely encoded painting, with many nasty messages. Look at the green, the red, the orpiment

 

THE APOSTLES PAUL AND PHILIPPE

 

The apostles James and Philippe

Could we get any more white lead than in these paintings?  and Black and red? EVEN WHITE LEAD LETTERING

 

MICHAEL WOLGEMUT

After he had achieved great fame, Dürer depicted the master who had taught him to paint. On it he inscribed: `This portrait was done by Albrecht Dürer of his teacher, Michael Wolgemut, in 1516′, to which he later added, `and he was 82 years old, and he lived until 1519, when he departed this life on St Andrew’s Day morning before sunrise.’ It is unclear from the inscription whether Wolgemut was 82 when he died or when the portrait had been painted three years earlier.

The fact that curators clearly say that Albrecht overpainted this painting with an additional inscription would have been enough to activate all the poisons.  Look at how green the deadly green background is, all the black, the inscription in orpiment.

MICHAEL WOLGEMUT, ALBRECHT’S MASTER

PORTRAIT OF MAN WITH BARET AND SCROLL

There is an inscription near his head, monogrammed and dated 152(?). The last digit of the date is not clearly legible (1 or 4?), but the fact that the panel is oak indicates that the painting must have been carried out during Dürer’s trip to the Netherlands. The hypotheses regarding the name of the subject are various. The most frequent are: the one of Lorenz Sterck, an administrator and financial curator of the Brabant and of Antwerp, WHO WAS INVOLVED IN GETTING ALBRECHT’S PENSION BACK, and that of Jobst Plankfelt, Dürer’s innkeeper in Antwerp. These names are frequently suggested since Dürer writes in his diary that he had done oil portraits of them.

It is difficult to imagine an innkeeper who made himself depicted with a scroll in his hand. Whereas it seems much more plausible that the imposing subject characterized by a severe and scrutinizing gaze – clad in a silk shirt, a cloak with a fur collar, and a large beret – corresponds to a tax collector

PORTRAIT OF MAN WITH BARET AND SCROLL

LUCRETIA

This panel is mentioned in the inventory, dated 1598, of the Kunstkammer of Munich. The cloth around the hips was presumably expanded upward around 1600. The opinion that the Lucretia, all things considered, was “Dürer’s most unpopular work,” is undoubtedly widely shared.  THAT’S BECAUSE IT’S AN ENCODED PAINTING

LUCRETIA

Lots of lead white, red, greenish-grey

MORE TO COME IN PART III

 

 

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4 thoughts on “OIL PAINTS THAT COULD KILL: DID ALBRECHT AND MARGRET DURER POISON THEIR CUSTOMERS WITH THEIR PAINTINGS? PART II

  1. I am a conservator and a chemist. To the best of my knowledge any of the poisonous pigments mentioned are not dangerous to the paintings’ viewers and/or owners unless ingested. They are not volatile as they were tempered with oil medium which holds them securely to the surface. If anything they WERE presenting danger to the artist while they were in their original powdered form. Van Gogh supposedly was poisoned by EATING a TUBE of lead white ….

    1. Dear Srbenka,

      Thank you for your comment. the firestorm that has ignited the world over paint was all addressed in articles posted on LinkedIn under the 4 groups run by Tatjana Jovanovic, European Art and three Medieval art groups. All the further evidence was posted there but because of the defamation that ensued against me, Tatjana decided not only to ban me from the groups, she may have taken down the articles with the evidence, she certainly informed me she erased some of the comments so I have no idea what is left there.

      I suggest you contact her on LinkedIn to get the information you are looking for and get an explanation from her as to why she suborned free speech, authentic and provable documentation about the chemistry and the dangers of paint,etc. for I will not go over what has already been published and should be freely accessible to the world. We have much more important Duerer findings to publish and I won’t have my fans and readers disturbed by anyone from LinkedIn about this issue any more.

      Please take it up with Tatjana. I’m taking it with the legal authorities at LinkedIn.

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