Saturday, December 6, 2014

Albrecht Durer Art Project for Kids

Renaissance Unit Study

Week 10: We drew hands like Albrecht Durer. (OK - So maybe not exactly like Albrecht Durer.)


Albrecht Durer was a 15th century artist from Nuremberg, Germany who lived around the time the printing press was invented. Much of his artwork was done by etching wooden blocks and printing the blocks onto paper. Religion was the subject of many pieces, and his self-portrait resembles an image of Jesus. In addition to religious works, he studied plants, animals and human anatomy.

Like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and other Renaissance artists, Durer, spent time dissecting humans and animals to learn how they were put together. In fact, Durer wrote four books on the subject of human proportion. Because the artists spent so much time studying anatomy, art, history and science truly came together in this lesson.

Albrecht Durer's Praying Hands are full of detail. Shading, nail and wrinkle definition, as well as bone structure can all be see in this piece of art. The image resembles a photograph.

This How to Draw Hands video explains how to draw human hands in any position. It is 40 minutes long, and got us started so well that we felt confident to give hand drawing a try.


The four main steps in drawing hands are palm, wrist, fingers and thumb. The palm is shaped like a wedge block and should be drawn first. The wrist comes into the hand aligned with the pinky side of the hand. On the opposite side, the thumb is drawn at the base of the hand. The fingers are just shorter than the height of the palm and spread from a single point at the base of the hand.

The first decision in drawing our hands was deciding on position. Once we had an idea we proceeded with the palms.

A lot of time was spent looking at our own hands.


Once the drawings were complete they were outlined with markers and colored with colored pencils.

The project was a huge challenge, and great learning experience. The hands above are mine. The kids all did much better.

 My 7 year old daughter's hand.

 My 10 year old son's hands. They are both left hands.

 My 12 year old daughter's hands.

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