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    Sale 7375

    The Genius of the German Renaissance: Prints by Albrecht Dürer

    4 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 27

    Albrecht Dürer

    The Sea Monster (B. 71; M., Holl. 66; S.M.S. 21)

    Price Realised  


    Albrecht Dürer
    The Sea Monster (B. 71; M., Holl. 66; S.M.S. 21)
    engraving, circa 1498, a good, very clear Meder b/c impression, without watermark, trimmed inside the platemark but retaining a fillet of blank paper outside the borderline, residual mounting tape at the sheet edges verso, in remarkably good condition
    S. 250 x 189 mm.

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    As Dürer's interest in the classical nude and the appropriation of Italian art of the previous generation (in particular Mantegna and Pollaiuolo) intensified, his subjects became increasingly mysterious. Whether he illustrated obscure mythological subjects suggested by his humanist friends, such as Pirckheimer, or whether he took elements of pre-existing images and myths to create his own fanciful subjects is impossible to determine. Legions of art historians have tried to unravel the iconography of the Sea Monster and Hercules (see the following lot), without ever coming to a satisfying conclusion. In his diary of his Netherlandish journey Dürer laconically refers to the present work as the 'Meerwunder', and the first recorded description of the print, by Giorgio Vasari, is still as valid as any: una ninfa portata via da un Mostro Marino, mentre alcun'altre Ninfe si bagnano.

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