Born in 1471, Albrecht Durer was known as the greatest
Renaissance painter during his time in Nuernberg , Germany .
When Durer died in 1528 he left some 80
paintings, over 100 etchings, about 200 wood carvings and
800 drawings behind as his cultural legacy. His artwork holds
deep stories and hidden inner meanings of which many have only
been theorized on.
Listed below, you will find interesting information
on the deciphered meanings of the panels on these goblets,
plates and other items created in his honor.
Death and the Devil (also
known as The Rider)
engraving carved in 1513 by Durer, Knight, Death and the Devil,
also known as The Rider, represents an allegory on Christian
salvation. Unflustered either by Death who is standing in front
of him with his hour-glass, or by the Devil behind him, an armored
knight is riding along a narrow defile, accompanied by his loyal
hound. This represents the steady route of the faithful, through
all of life's injustice, to God who is symbolized by the castle
in the background. The dog symbolizes faith, and the lizard religious
zeal. The horse and rider, like other preliminary studies made
by Dürer, are derived from the canon of proportions
drawn up by Leonardo da Vinci.
The Knight and the Landsknecht (Soldier
This woodcut was created in about 1497. It has been suggested
by Friedlander (universally recognized as the greatest expert
on Dutch and German paintings) that the subject is Saul on
the way to Damascus to pursue the Christians who had fled Jerusalem
Peasants in Conversation (Marketplace Peasants)
This scene has been connected by a number of commentators to the
peasant uprisings of the period. It should be remembered, however,
that Durer's wife Agnes sold her husband's woodcuts and engravings
in a stall in the market square of Nurenberg , as well as at the
fairs in other cities. Peasants were ever-present at these events,
as vendors as well as buyers. The sword which the pheasant uses
for a cane is similarly used as a satirical accessory in Martin
Schongauer's engraving, Pheasant Family Going to to Market.
This engraving is related to the Sol Justitiae
and to the Rustic Couple in technique, especially in the horizontal
shading devoid of crosshatching.
The original plate was sold to Prince Dolgorouky, a Russian
collector, in 1852. Its present wherabouts is not known. An impression
of this engraving is on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in
Peasant Couple Dancing (also known as Dancing Peasants)
There are different views and theories on what Durer intended
by this image.
describes this print succinctly as follows: For individuality
and for the happy expression of a transient mood in face as well
as pose, these Dancing Pheasants are quite as much without rivals
in Durer's oeuvre as knight, Death, and Devil.
Wolfflin comments that in spite of the elephantine
stamping of their feet, the impression and the form are magnificent.
The pheasants are not shown sneeringly as earlier, but as a character
Tietze finds that the group fills the picture area
in a magnificent manner and, in spite of the massiveness, a feeling
of their being swept off their feet is conveyed.
But Panofsky, in contrast, commented that it is
a spectacle of statuesque heaviness and immobility; unambitious
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