This Italian, Spanish, Portugese and German surname of DUREE was originally derived from the Old French word 'durant' and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form DURARE. This name was fairly frequently used in the Middle Ages as a given name in the sense 'steadfast' and also seems to have been a nickname for one who was obstinate, a tough and unyielding man. The name has travelled widely in many forms which include DURAND, DURRANT, DORANT, DURANTE, DANTI, DURAO, DURANDEAU, DURI, DUR, LEDUR, DURINI, and DORRINS. A notable member of the name was Albrecht DURER (1471-1528) the German Renaissance painter, engraver, draughtsman and woodcut designer. The son of a goldsmith, he was born in Nuremberg, where he trained under the woodcoat designer and altar-piece painter Wohlgemuth. His first Italian visit resulted in a series of watercolours of the Alps. He was influenced by Italian artists, and in about 1500 he became pre-occupied with the study of human proportions. He worked for Emperor Maximillian I from 1512 to 1519, and in this period he executed his most famous engravings 'Knight, Death and the Devil'. His last important work was 'The Four Apostles'. Another notable name was Asher Brown DURAND (l796-l886) American painter, engraver and illustrator, born in New Jersey. He served an engraving apprenticeship from l8l2 and as well as producing reproductions of the work of American artists, made his own engravings of famous contemporary Americans. Between l835 and l840 he also painted portraits of eminent Americans. After a visit to Europe in l840 he was associated with the Hudson River School and painted Romantic and dramatic landscapes. His graphic work strongly influenced the design of US paper currency. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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