• 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 7

    Albrecht Dürer

    The monstrous Pig of Landser (B. 95; M., Holl. 82; S.M.S. 8)

    Price Realised  


    Albrecht Dürer
    The monstrous Pig of Landser (B. 95; M., Holl. 82; S.M.S. 8)
    engraving, circa 1496, a fine impression, richly printed, with vertical polishing scratches, watermark High Crown (M. 20), trimmed on or just outside the engraved borderline, a short blank section near the upper left corner made-up, the tips of the upper right and lower left corners also made-up, touches of pen and ink along the upper borderline, otherwise in good condition
    S. 120 x 128 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

    Early in 1496 there are two records (possibly referring to the same event) of the birth of a 'monstrous' pig with two bodies, one head, two tongues, eight legs and another set of legs protruding upwards from its back. One appeared at Easter, recorded in the Nuremberg Chronicle, the other, in a pamphlet published by Sebastian Brandt in Basel, locates the unusual event in the Alsatian village of Landser, and dates it precisely to 1st March 1496. This usefully provides the first secure date for any of Dürer's early prints.

    The years immediately preceding 1500 were rife with dire warnings of the arrival of the millennium - indeed Dürer's Apocalypse (lot 131) explicitly illustrated the fears of those who believed the Last Judgement was upon them - and Brandt in his pamphlet interpreted the birth of the monstrous sow as a portent of things to come. In the present work, however, Dürer was clearly less interested in the chiliastic aspect of the event than a scientific description of a natural curiosity.

    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.