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Albrecht Dürer, St Jerome in his Study, a copperplate engraving

 

Height: 249.000 mm
Width: 192.000 mm

Bequeathed by Felix Slade

PD 1868-8-22-185 (Bartsch 60, Dodgson 74)

Prints and Drawings

    Albrecht Dürer, St Jerome in his Study, a copperplate engraving

    Germany
    Signed and dated AD 1514

    The scholar-saint at work

    The lion and cardinal's hat allow us to identify the figure as St Jerome (382-405). These attributes can also be seen in Dürer's St Jerome seated near a pollard Willow. The skull and the crucifix are reminders of death, and the Christian means of salvation and everlasting life.

    Dürer frames his composition, with the foreground step and pier on the left supporting a carved beam. The central window wall allows magical patterns of light to play on the window recesses, floor and ceiling. Dürer took the idea of depicting a saint in a sunny spacious study from Italian artists. The atmosphere recalls the painting St Augustine in his Study (Venice, Scuola di S Giorgio degli Schiavoni), which Carpaccio had just finished when Dürer visited Venice (for the second time) in 1504-7. A preparatory drawing for Carpaccio's painting is in The British Museum.

    There is a very wide range of tone in the print. With this Dürer has created the illusion of light, space and texture that is more like a Renaissance painting, showing the outstanding skill that he brought to the engraving technique in his later years.

    Dürer's monogram and the date of the engraving can be seen on a plaque on the floor.

    E. Panofsky, The life and art of Albrecht D (Princeton University Press, 1945, 1971)

    G. Bartrum, German Renaissance prints, 149, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)

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