Condition: This work is in very good condition.
Arresting in the shear amount and quality of detail, this work offers a composition of endless fascination. Most remarkable for the intense use of line and perspective, Dürer manipulates the block creating a visceral representation of depth and texture. One can only imagine the excitement and fervor of the twelve individuals who surround the Virgin. Each appears fixated upon the serene visage of the Virgin who tenderly directs her attention towards her son. The blessed quality of the scene is enhanced by the four mischievous putti who tumble along the lower margin.
Created in c. 1502, this stunning woodcut features Albrecht Dürer's (Nuremburg, 1471 - Nuremburg, 1528) signature monogram in the lower center of the image (between two feet of one of the mischievous putti). This work is a Meder f (of f) impression, with the Escutcheon with Diagonal Beam watermark (M. 245, not in Briquet) watermark within the fine, laid paper on which this woodcut has been printed, dating this piece to c. 1580.
According to W. Strauss (1980), the composition is as follows: "The Virgin holds the Infant Christ who looks at the Gospel shown to him by an angel, while a second angel plays the harp. The other participants in this crowded scene are (from left to right): St. Jerome, beckoning his lion who is partly hidden by the column; St. Paul, carrying his sword, as the Defender of the Faith; St. Augustine, wearing a mitre, as Bishop of Hippo; St. Anthony, carrying his pilgrim's staff, surmounted by a cross and a bell; John the Baptist, holding the lamb; St. Joseph, hat in hand, looking old in order to stress the Virginity; and in the foreground with St. Catherine, the spiked wheel of her martyrdom and a vase with lilies of the valley - symbolizing purity - beside her. The pot next to the Virgin holds peonies, which were considered to have special protective powers, and equated in beauty with lilies and roses" (p. 240).