This extraordinary artist was born at Nuremberg in 1471. His father was a skillful goldsmith, from Hungary, and taught his son the first rudiments of design, intending him for his own profession; but his early and decided inclination for the arts and sciences induced him to permit young Durer to follow the bent of his genius. He received his first instruction in painting and engraving from Martin Hapse. When he had reached the age of fourteen, it was his father's intention to have placed him under the instruction of Martin Schoen, of Colmar, the most distinguished artist of his time in Germany, but the death of the latter happening about that time, he became a pupil of Michael Wolgemut, in 1486, the first artist then in Nuremberg, with whom he studied diligently four years. He also cultivated the study of perspective, the mathematics, and architecture, in all of which he acquired a profound knowledge. Having finished his studies, he commenced his travels in 1490, and spent four years in traveling through Germany, the Netherlands, and the adjacent counties and provinces. On his return to Nuremberg, in 1494, he ventured to exhibit his works to the public, which immediately attracted great attention. His first work was a piece of the Three Graces, represented by as many female figures, with a globe over their heads. He soon after executed one of his masterpieces, a drawing of Orpheus. About this time, to please his father, as it is said, he married the daughter of Hans Fritz, a celebrated mechanic, who proved a fierce Xantippe, and embittered, and some say shortened his life. In 1506, he went to Venice to improve himself, where his abilities excited envy and admiration. Here he painted the Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew for the church of S. Marco, which was afterwards purchased by the Emperor Rodolphus, and removed to Prague. He also went to Bologna, and returned home in 1507. This journey to Italy had no effect whatever upon his style, though doubtless he obtained much information that was valuable to him, for at this period commenced the proper era of his greatness.