• Old Master, Modern & Contempor auction at Christies

    Sale 7839

    Old Master, Modern & Contemporary Prints

    31 March 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 26

    Albrecht Dürer

    Saint Jerome in his Study (B. 60; M., Holl. 59; S.M.S. 70)

    Price Realised  

    Albrecht Dürer
    Saint Jerome in his Study (B. 60; M., Holl. 59; S.M.S. 70)
    engraving, 1514, without watermark, a fine, warm and atmospheric Meder a/b impression, the dark vertical bands evident in the upper part of the subject, trimmed to the subject, very narrowly remargined, with touches of pen and ink in places at the extreme sheet edge, two short un-inked hairlines, one just below the bench, the other in the arch to the right of the window, a tiny surface abrasion just below the central window arch, an unobtrusive horizontal crease on the reverse probably inherent in the paper (not visible recto), remains of old paper tape along the sheet edges verso, with a few small thin spots at the lower edge, generally in very good condition
    P., S. 243 x 186 mm.


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    Saint Jerome was one of the fathers of the Church and author of the Vulgate - the early 5th century version of the Bible in Latin. By Dürer's time he had, as a scholar and Latinist, become an iconic figure for the humanists. Here he is immediately identifiable by his attributes - the cardinal's hat and the lion - as he sits writing at his desk in a small chamber. It is a friendly room where one might feel welcome, were it not for the lion and a sleeping dog guarding the entrance, and the wooden bench turned away from us as if to shield the saint from any intrusion.

    Dated 1514, Saint Jerome in his Study was engraved one year after Knight, Death and the Devil (see previous lot), and like the earlier print, it is full of reminders of death: the human skull on the window ledge, the crucifix on the desk, the candle and the hour glass, and the fly whisk can be read as a reference to the devil. Yet while the knight is physically confronted with death and the devil, Saint Jerome comtemplates them in the quiet and warmth of his study.

    It is the bright sunlight (still out-shone by the saint's halo) falling through the windows and filling the room with warmth, described by Dürer with dazzling virtuosity, which is the formal theme of this print, and which make it one of the most charming and best-loved of all of Dürer's engravings.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that there is a tiny surface abrasion, measuring circa 1 x 1 mm., just below the second window arch.


    Pre-Lot Text

    FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION