Knight, Death and the Devil
Knight and the Devil is a large 1513 engraving by the German artist Albrecht Dürer, one of the three Meisterstiche completed during a period when he ceased to work in paint or woodcuts to focus on engravings. The image is infused with complex iconography and symbolism, the precise meaning of, argued over for centuries. An armoured knight, accompanied by his dog, rides through a narrow gorge flanked by a goat-headed devil and the figure of death riding a pale horse. Death's rotting corpse holds a reminder of the shortness of life; the rider moves through the scene looking away from the creatures lurking around him, appears contemptuous of the threats, is thus seen as symbol of courage. The work was mentioned by Giorgio Vasari as one of "several sheets of such excellence that nothing finer can be achieved", it was copied and had a large influence on German writers. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche referenced the work in his work on dramatic theory The Birth of Tragedy to exemplify pessimism, while it was idealised in the 20th century by the Nazis as representing the racially pure Aryan, was sometimes used in their propaganda imagery.
As with the two other of his Meisterstiche, it contains a skull and hourglass, while all three are identical in size. The engraving is indebted to the Gothic style. Many of the forms blend into each other; the outline of the horse is built from a series of interlocking curves, while the knight's chin is woven into the line of his helmet. These two central figures are surrounded by a tangled mass of branches and hair, which according to art historian Raymond Stites contrast with the solid figure of the knight and his horse to set them as a "tangible idea in a world of changing forms"; the man is shown looking doggedly straight ahead, he does not allow his line of vision be interrupted or distracted by the demons beside him. According to Elizabeth Lunday the "skeletal figure of death stands ghostly pale against the darkness of a shadowy crag, while the devil, a multihorned goatlike creature, skulks amongst straggly tree roots." Death is shown with his horse in the left background and rendered without nose or lips in lighter shades than the other figures.
A skull is seen in the lower foreground, directly in the Knight's path, whilst a dog is running between the two horses. Death, the Devil, the landscape are all rendered in a bleakly northern manner; the surrounding characters are threatening to the knight, protected by the literal and figurative armor of his faith. It is believed by some art historians to be linked with publications of the Dutch humanist and theologian Erasmus's Enchiridion militis Christiani; the engraving draws from Psalm 23. Knight and the Devil is dated and signed by the artist; the work was created while Dürer was in the service of the Emperor Maximilian but was not a commission and does not contain an overtly political message. Instead it reaches back to a medieval sense of morality, is replete with Gothic imagery; the engraving bears similarities in mood and tone to one of Dürer's other great prints Melencolia I. The knight seems resigned, his facial features are downcast, his gloomy posture is in contrast to the sturdy look of his horse.
While his armor may protect him against the surrounding demons, the skull on a stump is held in front of the horse and the fall of the sand held by death in the face of the knight. According to writer Dorothy Getlein, "there is a sense of obsolescence about the knight accompanied by Death and the Devil." The New York Times art critic Holland Cotter noted that the composition followed soon after Dürer's beloved mother died a painful death. Austrian 19th-century art historian Moritz Thausing suggested that Dürer had created Knight and the Devil as part of a four-work cycle, each designed to illustrate one of the four temperaments. According to Thausing, the work was intended to represent sanguinity, hence the "S" engraved in the work, it is believed that the portrayal is a literal, though pointed, celebration of the knight's Christian faith, of the ideals of humanism. An alternative interpretation was presented in 1970 by writer Sten Karling, by Ursula Meyer, who suggested that the work did not seek to glorify the knight, but instead depicts a "robber knight".
They point to the lack of Christian or religious symbolism in the work and to the fox's tail wrapped on top the knight's lance – in Greek legend the fox's tail was a symbol of greed and treachery, as well as lust and whoring. However, knights were depicted in contemporary art with a fox tail tied to the tip of their lance. Moreover, the fox tail was a common form of protective amulet. in this interpretation Death and the Devil are the knight's companions on his journey, not omens. The work is considered one among three of Dürer's "Meisterstiche". In particular, the horse is skillfully rendered in geometric shapes that call to mind Leonardo da Vinci and reflect the Renaissance interest in natural sciences and anatomy. Most print rooms with a significant collection will have a copy, there are many late and worn, impressions in private
The Suicide of Lucretia (Dürer)
The Suicide of Lucretia is an oil on lime panel painting by Albrecht Dürer and dated 1518, in the collection of the Alte Pinakothek, Munich. It shows the Ancient Romean heroine Lucretia, wife of Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, in a tall and narrow framing, in the act of killing herself rather than face the shame of being raped by her cousin Sextus Tarquinius. Lucretia stands in front of a cramped and harshly lit room containing the bridal bed on which she was raped, she looks to the sky. Her face betraying feelings of disgrace; the panel is Dürer's second treatment of Lucretia, following a similar 1508 drawing. The earlier composition, drawn in ink with wash on paper, is in the Albertina Vienna, her wound is not at the center of her belly, as in the 1508 drawing, but below her right breast, echoing Christ's lance wound. Critics have mentioned how the act is bloodless, without any of the spatterings on bed sheets associated with similar treatments from the time; however the painting was executed with finesse, with the brush strokes representing the cloths detailed, composed of a variety of red and green pigments.
The white drapery around her hips is a addition, from around 1600. Art historians tend not to view it as one of his best paintings, it is compared, unfavourably, to a similar work by Lucas Cranach the Elder. However, art historians see the Dürer as a less formal treatment, more inward and concerned with confronting death and dying. Between 1959 and 1960, Alberto Giacometti completed a Sketch after Durer's Lucretia using ball-point pen on paper, her face bears elements of idealisation, although for the most part she is presented as a real woman. Her expression, near identical to the 1508 drawing, is difficult to interpret, as it contains none of the passivity, chastity, or sly sidelong glances associated with contemporary depictions of her, she is given a monumental and statuesque pose, but without the sense of pagan sensuality present in his 1507 Adam and Eve in the Prado, Madrid. Critics have remarked unfavourably on her sour expression, unnaturally elongated and disproportional figure, uncomfortable contrapposto pose.
The painting has been described as one of Dürer's most unpopular works, with many art historians, including Max Friedländer and Erwin Panofsky, commenting unfavourably on apparent qualities such as "austerity and awkwardness". Art historian Fedja Anzelewsky described her as "a parody rather than an exaltation of the classical feminine figure."The feminist scholar Linda Hults observes how "there is a mechanical quality to Lucretia's suicidal gesture.
Self-Portrait (Dürer, Munich)
Self-Portrait is a panel painting by the German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer. Painted early in 1500, just before his 29th birthday, it is the last of his three painted self-portraits. Art historians consider it the most personal and complex of his self-portraits; the self-portrait is most remarkable because of its resemblance to many earlier representations of Christ. Art historians note the similarities with the conventions of religious painting, including its symmetry, dark tones and the manner in which the artist directly confronts the viewer and raises his hands to the middle of his chest as if in the act of blessing. Dürer's face has the inflexibility and impersonal dignity of a mask, hiding the restless turmoil of anguish and passion within." In its directness and apparent confrontation with the viewer, the self-portrait is unlike any that came before. It is half-length and symmetrical; the placement of the inscriptions in the dark fields on either side of Dürer are presented as if floating in space, emphasizing that the portrait has a symbolic meaning.
Its sombre mood is achieved through the use of brown tones set against the plain black background. The lightness of touch and tone seen in his earlier two self-portraits has been replaced by a far more introverted and complex representation. In this work, Dürer's style seems to have developed into what art historian Marcel Brion described as "a classicism like that of Ingres. Geometric analysis of the composition demonstrates its rigid symmetry, with several highlights aligned close to a vertical axis down the middle of the painting. However, the work is not symmetrical. In 1500 a frontal pose was exceptional for a secular portrait. Frontal poses remained unusual, although Hans Holbein painted several of Henry VIII of England and his queens under instruction to use the pose. Late medieval and Early Renaissance art had developed the more difficult three-quarters view, artists were proud of their skill in using it; the self-portrait is of a markedly more mature Dürer than both the 1493 Strasbourg self-portrait and the 1498 self-portrait which he produced after his first visit to Italy.
Dürer turned the time of this work. In the medieval view of the stages of life, 28 marked the transition from youth to maturity; the portrait therefore commemorates a turning point in the artist's life and in the millennium: the year 1500, displayed in the centre of the upper left background field, is here celebrated as epochal. Moreover, the placing of the year 1500 above his signature initials, A. D. gives them an added meaning as an abbreviation of Anno Domini. The painting may have been created as part of a celebration of the saeculum by the circle of the Renaissance humanist scholar Conrad Celtes, which included Dürer. Dürer chooses to present himself monumentally, in a style that unmistakably recalls depictions of Christ—the implications of which have been debated among art critics. A conservative interpretation suggests that he is responding to the tradition of the Imitation of Christ. A more controversial view reads the painting is a proclamation of the artist's supreme role as creator.
This latter view is supported by the painting's Latin inscription, composed by Celtes’ personal secretary, which translates as. A further interpretation holds that the work is an acknowledgement that his artistic talents are God-given. Art historian Joseph Koerner wrote that "to seeing the frontal likeness and inward curved left hand as echoes of the "A" and nestled "D" of the monogram featured at the right... nothing we see in a Dürer is not Dürer's, monogram or not." Late Northern medieval painting portrayed Christ in a symmetrical pose looking directly out of the canvas when shown as Salvator Mundi. He was shown with a short beard and brown parted hair. Dürer has rendered himself in this manner, gives himself brown hair, despite his other self-portraits showing his hair as reddish-blond; the painting so follows the conventions of late medieval religious art that it was used as the basis for depictions of Christ in a woodcut by Sebald Beham of c. 1520. This was intended to be passed off as a print by Dürer from the start, in printings bears a large Dürer monogram, though this appears to have been added to the block several decades later.
In the next century, the face was used for Christ again, in a Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery of 1637 by Johann Georg Vischer. Dürer presents himself in similar poses and expressions in both his 1498 Christ as Man of Sorrows and 1503 charcoal drawing Head of the Dead Christ. Both are believed to be self-portraits. However, artist historians believe that since they bear remarkable similarities to his known self-portraits –
Portrait of Erasmus (Dürer)
Portrait of Erasmus is a late period 1526 woodcut engraving by the German artist Albrecht Dürer. The portrait was commissioned by the Dutch Renaissance humanist Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam when the two men met in the Netherlands between 1520 and 1521. Erasmus was at the height of his renown, required representations of himself to accompany his writings, it was not completed until some six years but proceeds a number of preparatory sketches made at that time. It is not a close representation of Erasmus' physical characteristics, for which has sometimes been criticised, including by Erasmus himself, by Martin Luther, with whom Erasmus had a prolonged and thorny relationship, it is today viewed by art historians as a pioneering capture of his moral integrity and scholarship, is one of the most popular and recognisable portraits of the sitter. Erasmus was theologian, he respected Dürer's stature, greatly admired his work, but more his graphic woodcuts and drawings than his paintings. On January 8, 1525, Erasmus wrote, "I wish I could be portrayed by Dürer.
Why not by such an artist? But how could it be accomplished? He began my portrait in charcoal at Brussels, but he has put it aside long ago. If he could do it from my medal or from memory, let him do what he has done for you, that is, add some fat". In 1528, after the portrait was complete he wrote, "is it not more wonderful to accomplish without the blandishment of colors what Apelles accomplished with their aid?" The implication being that Dürer could achieve more with bare black lines than other 16th century artists -including Dürer himself- with expansive colours. They met at least three times, during Dürer's 1520-21 visit to the Netherlands. Erasmus commissioned a portrait, as he required a large number of portraits of himself to send to his correspondents and admirers throughout Europe; as recorded in his dairies, Dürer sketched Erasmus a number of times in charcoal during these encounters, but it was six years before he completed the engraving. Erasmus is shown in half-length, serious minded and writing in his study.
Before him are a number of books, intended to indicate his scholarship. The books serve a deeper purpose, indicating that both men made their names as a result of developments in printing; the lilies in a vase refer to the purity and incorruptibility of his mind and intentions. The Latin and Greek script behind him is framed on the wall as if a picture, reads "This image of Erasmus of Rotterdam was drawn from life by Albrecht Dürer; the better portrait will his writings show. 1526. AD". Although the work is known and popular, early to mid 20th art historians viewed it with reserve. Both Heinrich Wölfflin and Erwin Panofsky described it in favourable terms, although Wölfflin wrote that it "lacked life" when compared to Hans Holbein's portraits of Erasmus. Max Friedländer described it as "hesitant" and without conviction. Dürer was not seeking to reproduce the sitter's physical appearance, but more to represent "the better portrait will his writings show". According to Panofsky, "Dürer did his best to'characterize' Erasmus by the paraphernalia of erudition and taste, with a charming bouquet of violets and lilies-of-the-valley testifying to his love of beauty and, at the same time, serving as symbols of modesty and virginal purity."
Panofsky concluded that Durer "failed to capture that elusive blend of charm, ironic wit and formidable strength, Erasmus of Rotterdam."Erasmus himself was vocally unhappy with the final work, in 1528, the year of Dürer's death, complained in a letter that the portrait did not physically resemble him. However, although Erasmus sough portraits of himself, he was happy of the results. Of a minor Holbein portrait he wrote, "If Erasmus looked as young as that he would be thinking of taking a wife". Martin Luther disliked the engraving, but having publicly fallen out with Erasmus at the time, dryly observed that "no one is pleased with his own likeness". At the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Avarice (Dürer, Vienna)
Avarice is a small oil-on-limewood painting of 1507 by Albrecht Dürer. It shows a grotesque and wrinkled old woman with one sagging breast hanging out of her crimson robe holding a bag of gold coins with both hands; the work is found on the reverse of his Portrait of Young Man. Avarice is allegorical and serves as a warning at both the transience of life and the ultimate worthlessness of earthly fortune, it is grouped, along with Melencolia I, as one of Dürer's vanitas images. Intended to represent both avarice and the passing nature of youthful beauty, the woman is shown in half-length, painted in thick impasto, she has long straight blond hair, glazed eyes, a long nose, a pinched jaw and a mouth with only two remaining teeth, twisted in a scornful laugh. Her visible right arm is muscular and out of proportion to the rest of her body, while a dark tuft of hair sprouts from her underarm. Only her hair and the regular and noble outlines of her face hint at former beauty; the intense focus of the image is achieved by tight cropping and the contrasting of the lush colouring of the woman's gown and hair against a flat black background.
Art historians have compared the work to a Giorgionesque canvas Col tempo, with which it shares obvious thematic similarities, while Dürer's use of impasto and the rich colouring in the foreground display a debt to the Venetian school. The art historian T. Sturge Moore suggests that Dürer may have wanted to show that he could paint like Giorgione. Others believe that the work is a satire on a sitter who had not paid him as much as he might have wished for an earlier portrait. However, given the artist's financial situation at this time, it seems unlikely that he would have deliberately offended potential patrons or customers. Writer Jessie Allen discounts this theory and believes that the work was unable to attract a buyer and so, to save money, Dürer used the other side of the canvas to create a commercially viable image; the work is seen as unfinished, is sometimes referred to as a sketch. Avarice is held in the Kunsthistorisches Vienna, it is in good condition, the colours retain their vibrancy.
In the Kunsthistoriches it is labeled "Allegorische Frauenfigur/Allegorical Female Figure" Allen, Jessie. Albert Dürer. Kessinger, 2005. ISBN 0-7661-9475-2 Bailey, Martin. Dürer. London: Phidon Press, 1995. ISBN 0-7148-3334-7 Silver, Larry & Smith, Jeffrey Chipps; the Essential Dürer. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010. ISBN 0-8122-4187-8 Sturge Moore, T. Albert Dürer. Bastian Books, 2008. ISBN 0-554-23107-7 Thausing, Moriz. Albert Dürer: His Life and Work, Part 1. Kessinger Publishing, 2003. ISBN 0-7661-5416-5
Poland the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With a population of 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, Szczecin. Poland is bordered by the Baltic Sea, Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast and Lithuania to the north and Ukraine to the east and Czech Republic, to the south, Germany to the west; the establishment of the Polish state can be traced back to AD 966, when Mieszko I, ruler of the realm coextensive with the territory of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, in 1569 it cemented its longstanding political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin; this union formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th and 17th century Europe, with a uniquely liberal political system which adopted Europe's first written national constitution, the Constitution of 3 May 1791.
More than a century after the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, Poland regained its independence in 1918 with the Treaty of Versailles. In September 1939, World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Germany, followed by the Soviet Union invading Poland in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. More than six million Polish citizens, including 90% of the country's Jews, perished in the war. In 1947, the Polish People's Republic was established as a satellite state under Soviet influence. In the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1989, most notably through the emergence of the Solidarity movement, Poland reestablished itself as a presidential democratic republic. Poland is regional power, it has the fifth largest economy by GDP in the European Union and one of the most dynamic economies in the world achieving a high rank on the Human Development Index. Additionally, the Polish Stock Exchange in Warsaw is the largest and most important in Central Europe. Poland is a developed country, which maintains a high-income economy along with high standards of living, life quality, safety and economic freedom.
Having a developed school educational system, the country provides free university education, state-funded social security, a universal health care system for all citizens. Poland has 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Poland is a member state of the European Union, the Schengen Area, the United Nations, NATO, the OECD, the Three Seas Initiative, the Visegrád Group; the origin of the name "Poland" derives from the West Slavic tribe of Polans that inhabited the Warta river basin of the historic Greater Poland region starting in the 6th century. The origin of the name "Polanie" itself derives from the early Slavic word "pole". In some languages, such as Hungarian, Lithuanian and Turkish, the exonym for Poland is Lechites, which derives from the name of a semi-legendary ruler of Polans, Lech I. Early Bronze Age in Poland begun around 2400 BC, while the Iron Age commenced in 750 BC. During this time, the Lusatian culture, spanning both the Bronze and Iron Ages, became prominent; the most famous archaeological find from the prehistory and protohistory of Poland is the Biskupin fortified settlement, dating from the Lusatian culture of the early Iron Age, around 700 BC.
Throughout the Antiquity period, many distinct ancient ethnic groups populated the regions of what is now Poland in an era that dates from about 400 BC to 500 AD. These groups are identified as Celtic, Slavic and Germanic tribes. Recent archeological findings in the Kujawy region, confirmed the presence of the Roman Legions on the territory of Poland; these were most expeditionary missions sent out to protect the amber trade. The exact time and routes of the original migration and settlement of Slavic peoples lacks written records and can only be defined as fragmented; the Slavic tribes who would form Poland migrated to these areas in the second half of the 5th century AD. Up until the creation of Mieszko's state and his subsequent conversion to Christianity in 966 AD, the main religion of Slavic tribes that inhabited the geographical area of present-day Poland was Slavic paganism. With the Baptism of Poland the Polish rulers accepted Christianity and the religious authority of the Roman Church.
However, the transition from paganism was not a smooth and instantaneous process for the rest of the population as evident from the pagan reaction of the 1030s. Poland began to form into a recognizable unitary and territorial entity around the middle of the 10th century under the Piast dynasty. Poland's first documented ruler, Mieszko I, accepted Christianity with the Baptism of Poland in 966, as the new official religion of his subjects; the bulk of the population converted in the course of the next few centuries. In 1000, Boleslaw the Brave, continuing the policy of his father Mieszko, held a Congress of Gniezno and created the metropolis of Gniezno and the dioceses of Kraków, Kołobrzeg, Wrocław. However, the pagan unrest led to the transfer of the capital to Kraków in 1038 by Casimir I the Restorer. In 1109, Prince Bolesław III Wrymouth defeated the King of Germany Henry V at the Battle of Hundsfeld, stopping the Ge
Joachim and Anne Meeting at the Golden Gate
Joachim and Anne Meeting at the Golden Gate is a 1504 woodcut by the German artist Albrecht Dürer that depicts the standard scene of the parents of the Virgin Mary and Anne meeting at the Golden Gate of Jerusalem, upon learning that she will bear a child. The story of the Meeting at the Golden Gate is not in the New Testament, but is in the Protoevangelium of James and other apocryphal accounts, it featured in other popular accounts. The print shows an embracing couple beneath an ornamental archway, surrounded by neighbours and fools; the work is one of 16 woodcuts in Dürer's Life of the Virgin series, which he executed between 1501 and 1511. Joachim and Anne Meeting at the Golden Gate is the only work in the series to include a date. Throughout the series, the Virgin is displayed as an intermediary between the divine and the earth, yet shown with a range of human frailties; the full series of prints was first published in 1511. Printed on the reverse of each was a Latin text written by a member of his intellectual circle in Nuremberg, the Benedictine Abbot Benedictus Chelidonius.
Benedictus Chelidonius' work describes the story of the married couple Joachim and Anne, though they were devoted to each other, were unhappy as they were childless, which they took as a sign that they must have been rejected by God. An angel informs Anne of her conception, while at the same time asking her to meet her husband at the city gate in Jerusalem. On meeting, the couple entwine in joy. According to Chelidonius: "Overjoyed Anne threw herself into the arms of her husband. For they knew from the heavenly messenger that the child would be a Queen, powerful on heaven and on earth". In traditional depictions of the occasion, the pair don't kiss. Dürer here follows an early Renaissance convention involving the illusion of looking through an open window, he framed many of his works in this way, including Joachim and Anne Meeting at the Golden Gate, outlined by a Renaissance arch. The artist's mix of classical and sixteenth-century Nuremberg motifs, as well as the northern European setting, were utilised to bring the images closer to the audience.
According to the critic Laurie Meunier Graves, "these prints manage to illuminate the sacred while at the same time providing scenes of homely, Renaissance life. They are a beautiful blend of the secular. In addition, woodcuts are an art form that gives plenty of latitude to the imagination and leaves room for fancy." As with the other works in the series, it is distinguished by virtuoso use of line and skilled cutting. The church had developed the doctrine that the Virgin Mary was, born without original sin. In the Middle Ages the doctrine remained controversial, opposed by St Thomas Aquinas and his Dominican Order, but supported by the Franciscan Order, it was not formally established as doctrine in the First Vatican Council. This scene represented the conception of Mary, was an early scene in the many cycles of the Life of the Virgin, the counterpart of the Annunciation showing the conception of Jesus. To some medieval viewers, the kiss was a literal representation of the moment of Mary's conception, while for others it was a symbolic representation.
The main figures may be accompanied Anne with women and Joachim with shepherds. The Archangel Gabriel, always shown in Annunciations, may appear here also. Sometimes other saints are included; the 14th and 15th centuries were the heyday of depictions. More allegorical depictions of the Immaculate Conception, featuring an adult Mary, replaced this scene in representing the doctrine. Hall, Hall's Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, 1996, John Murray, ISBN 0719541476 Kurth, Dr. Willi. "The complete woodcuts of Albrecht Durer". New York: Arden Book Co, 1935. Nurnberg, Verlag Hans Carl. "Dürer in Dublin: Engravings and woodcuts of Albrecht Dürer". Chester Beatty Libraery, 1983. Strauss, Walter L. "Albrecht Durer Woodcuts and Woodblocks". The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 124, No. 955, October, 1982. Pp. 638–639. Albrecht Durer in the "History of Art"