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    Sale 7375

    The Genius of the German Renaissance: Prints by Albrecht Dürer

    4 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 14

    Albrecht Dürer

    The Knight on Horseback and the Lansquenet (B. 131; M., Holl. 265; S.M.S. 106)

    Price Realised  


    Albrecht Dürer
    The Knight on Horseback and the Lansquenet (B. 131; M., Holl. 265; S.M.S. 106)
    woodcut, circa 1496, a very good Meder I impression, before the crack through the horse's hind hoof, printing a little dryly in places, otherwise rich and black and with considerable gaufrage verso, watermark Imperial Orb (M. 53), trimmed to the borderline, the usual horizontal central fold faintly visible recto, in very good condition
    B., S. 392 x 285 mm.

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    The traditional title of this woodcut is a misleading one since, as Rainer Schoch has observed, the rider is by no means a knight. He is not dressed in armour, but wears a princely ermine collar and other fineries, while his horse is decorated with plumes and a fine caparison. Unfortunately this clarification does not help to reveal the true meaning of the print. The scene has been read as 'Saul on his way to Damascus' or 'David fleeing from Saul', but in reality it offers little information to substantiate such biblical interpretations. An anonymous painting of the early 16th Century now in Nuremberg shows the same two figures, clearly copied from Dürer's woodcut, with Death himself at their heals. This interpretation would make the present woodcut an early precursor of the famous Knight, Death and the Devil (lot 99). Whatever the hidden meaning may be - if there is one - Dürer obviously had a soft spot for depicting horses and riders, a liking that manifested itself in several important prints as well as a considerable number of drawings, mainly dating from his early years.

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    Th. Apel-Ermlitz (L. 16 a).