The full force of Albrecht Dürer’s talent was on display in a recent exhibition “Defining Beauty: Albrecht Dürer at the Morgan.” Drawn entirely from the Morgan’s permanent collection, the show consisted of ten works on paper and a pair of leather-bound sixteenth-century volumes. It was a small show but, like the Morgan’s collection in general, it was concentrated, not minor.

In a drawing of his brother Endres (1518), Dürer articulates every hair in a fur coat as carefully as he renders the sitter’s eyes. The style is freer in the rendition of a Kneeling Donor (1506), but the accents in white gouache are a perfect match for the blue “carta azzurra” that Dürer adopted after his journey to Venice. Also on display were a fine print of Melancolia I (1514), an Abduction on Horseback (1516) with Leonardo horse and Laocoön head, and some curios from the...

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