Painter, draughtsman, and printmaker Albrecht Dürer was born in Nuremberg, then in the Holy Roman Empire (now Germany) on 21 May 1471, the grandson of a prominent goldsmith. At the age of 15, he began working with printmaker Michael Wolgemut, who taught him over the course of three years how to create woodcuts and drypoint prints. Afterwards, in 1490, Dürer embarked on a four-year Wanderjahre, travelling throughout Germany and probably visiting Switzerland and the Netherlands. On this journey he painted what is now considered to be the first definitive self-portrait in the history of Western art. Upon his return to Nuremberg he married and opened his own workshop. In 1498 he became the first known artist to plan, create, and publish his own book. Dürer was highly influenced by Italian artistic techniques, which informed both his art and his intellectual development. He made two journeys to Italy in 1494 and in 1505. He then began a consistent and fruitful period of work in Germany from 1507 to 1520, during which he produced his most famous paintings and woodcuts. The latter were widely circulated and Dürer was commercially successful within his own lifetime. He received major commissions for painted altarpieces and portraits and in 1512 secured the patronage of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, acting as an official court artist to both Maximilian and his successor Charles V. He corresponded with other major artists of his time including Raphael, Giovanni Bellini, and Leonardo da Vinci, as well as radical thinkers Erasmus and Philip Melanchthon, whose portraits he also painted. In his later years he wrote treatises on mathematics and human proportions. Albrecht Dürer died in Nuremberg on 6 April 1528.