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    Sale 7375

    The Genius of the German Renaissance: Prints by Albrecht Dürer

    4 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 90

    Albrecht Dürer

    The Adoration of the Magi (B. 3; M., Holl. 208; S.M.S. 225)

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Albrecht Dürer
    The Adoration of the Magi (B. 3; M., Holl. 208; S.M.S. 225)
    woodcut, 1511, a fine, early Meder a/b impression, before the crack to the roof beam, with the hairline crack to the coat of the kneeling king only just beginning to show, but with a Bull's Head with initials JZ watermark (M. 70) usually found in Meder b impressions, trimmed on or just outside the borderline, in excellent condition
    B., S. 295 x 221 mm.


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    Although almost identical in size to the plates from Life of the Virgin (lot 133) and created in the same year of the first edition of that book, this woodcut is not part of the series. The Life of the Virgin already included an earlier version of the Adoration and although it is tempting to see the present subject as a replacement most scholars now believe that this is not the case. Instead, this work was created as a single leaf woodcut for private devotion. In the markets in Germany and during fairs and pilgrimages, especially in Cologne, it would have been in great demand. The pilgrimage to the shrine of the Three Magi, whose relics are still in Cologne Cathedral, was one of the most important that worshipers could undertake. The tradition of the processions and plays which were performed on 6th January, known as the day of the Three Holy Kings, further added to their popularity, as did their function as protectors against illness and misfortune whilst travelling.

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