Albrecht Dürer is an astonishing, yet somewhat enigmatic artistic character from late 15th and early 16th century Renaissance Germany.
He was a prolific painter, engraver, designer, writer and theorist. He has had an enormous influence on other artists, not merely in his own time, but right up to the present day, through the sheer quality of his work and the magnetic power of his often haunting imagery.
Personal magnetism – Pluto in first house
Astrologically, he was born with Virgo rising, with Pluto just beyond his ascending degree in challenging aspect to his native Sun in Gemini in house 10.
Virgo rising denotes a versatile, analytical and critical outlook on life, very useful for an artisan where detail and patience are absolutely key. His ruler, Mercury, was found in earthy, artistic Taurus in house 9, underlining his practicality and enduring qualities in producing vast amounts of woodcuts and engravings that have stood the test of time.
Pluto in house 1 would intensify his painstaking attitude, almost bordering on obsession at times, it would seem, especially so as Pluto is challenging his Sun in Gemini in house 10; he would likely drive himself hard so as to potentially endanger his health. This intensity of Pluto, so personalised within him, may indicate the fascination of self portraiture – he produced several good examples of this. In these magnetic self portraits, note the intensity (Pluto house 1 square Sun) of the stare.
Another outstanding feature of his chart is the relatively full house 10 in Gemini, including the Sun, Saturn, and Venus conjunct Moon. The latter conjunction is in beneficial aspect to Uranus in house 2, a very clear indication of his distinctive, unusual manner and his originality, not only in character but artistically.
Ambitious, distinctive, but very likeable
He was also clearly a very versatile, communicative, physically attractive, rather pleasant and probably quick witted person – once you got beyond the initial intensity (Pluto) of his personality.
Many people at the time testified to his charm and wit. Mercury is also high up in the chart, so with all these luminaries here is a strong indication of ambition, the desire to ‘become’ someone in the world. This Mercury is in Taurus in house 9, so he had a practical mentality and a strong interest in philosophy and travel. He made two important trips to Italy and one to the Netherlands.
He was indeed also something of a humanist, contributing much in literature, especially in the realms of natural sciences and mathematics. He wrote treatises on measurement, practical theories (Mercury Taurus house 9) on such things as fortifications, proportion, and also on artistic theory. “Human Proportions” is probably his most important literary work, which took virtually a lifetime to produce.
copyright Francis Barker 2019