• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7375

    The Genius of the German Renaissance: Prints by Albrecht Dürer

    4 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 125

    Albrecht Dürer

    Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg (The Small Cardinal) (B.102; M., Holl. 100; S.M.S. 89)

    Price Realised  


    Albrecht Dürer
    Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg (The Small Cardinal) (B.102; M., Holl. 100; S.M.S. 89)
    engraving, 1519, a very fine Meder a impression, with the silvery quality characteristic of early impressions, from the first edition before the text verso, without watermark, trimmed just outside the borderline, in excellent condition
    S. 147 x 99 mm.

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Having worked as a portrait painter his entire life it is rather curious that it was only late in his career that Dürer began to make portrait engravings, and the present work is his first such effort. He drew the young cardinal in 1518 on the occasion of the Imperial Diet in Augsburg, where Dürer was part of the Nuremberg delegation. He later presented him with two hundred impressions of the engraving and the plate itself, for which he received 200 gold guilders and some cloth in payment. Judging by the quality of this impression, the present example is quite likely to have come from the original edition Dürer printed for the cardinal by Dürer himself.

    Dürer's acquaintance with the cardinal proved useful only a year later when, following the Coronation of Charles V, the cardinal, in his role as the chancellor of the Empire, approved the renewal of Dürer's Imperial pension. The lower inscription reads: This is how he had his eyes, cheeks and mouth in the 29th year of his life 1519. This quotation from Virgil rather unflatteringly draws attention to his somewhat fleshy features.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.