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    Sale 7375

    The Genius of the German Renaissance: Prints by Albrecht Dürer

    4 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 112

    Albrecht Dürer

    A Landscape with a Cannon (B. 99; M., Holl. 96; S.M.S. 85)

    Price Realised  


    Albrecht Dürer
    A Landscape with a Cannon (B. 99; M., Holl. 96; S.M.S. 85)
    etching, 1518, a fine, even Meder I a impression of this rare print, before rustmarks, printing with tone, watermark Narrow High Crown (M. 31), trimmed on or just inside the platemark but retaining a fillet of blank paper outside the borderline, a vertical central fold skilfully backed and repaired, some thin spots at the sheet edges also very thinly backed, generally in very good condition
    S. 219 x 320 mm.

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    Although the landscape is not the primary subject of this etching - unusual in its horizontal format - it is still one of the first prints in western art in which landscape plays a prominent supporting role. In the foreground stands a large cannon, guarded by a lansquenet, while the other figures, dressed in Turkish and Hungarian attire, stand as onlookers nearby. The cannon does not seem to be aimed at anything in particular and there is no indication of a battle or even animosities between the various figures. The historical context and the relationship between the different elements - the cannon, the figures and the landscape remains unclear.
    It has been suggested that the etching was created as 'propaganda' in support of Emperor Maximilian's military modernisation and his plans for a new crusade against the Ottoman Empire. The cannon however is of an outdated design, and the figures depicted hardly suggest the imminent defeat of the old enemy.
    Whilst the subject of the scene in the foreground remains unidentified, the beautiful landscape in the background is a view of the village of Kirchehrenbach in Franconia. It is based on a silverpoint drawing which Dürer probably drew in situ on his way to Bamberg. Since the etching is not intended to depict any historical event related to this particular village he saw no obstacle in relocating it to the coast, a transmutation seen in several other landscapes.

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