Johann Strixner, Soldier with Halberd; Fox and Fowl, a lithograph

Munich, AD 1808

In about 1508 Emperor Maximilian compiled a prayer-book, which was printed in an edition of ten on vellum. One copy was dismembered and the sheets were dispatched to various leading German artists, including Dürer, who decorated the blank margins. It is generally thought that the drawings were meant to be copied as woodcuts for a luxury illustrated edition, but this never appeared.

In 1806 Alois Senefelder, the inventor of lithography, opened a press in Munich with the financial backing of Freiherr von Aretin, director of the Royal Library, where Dürer's drawings for the prayer-book had been since about 1600. Aretin saw the opportunity the press offered to publicize one of the library's greatest treasures. Thus the first book to be published in lithography, Albrecht Dürers Christlichmythologische Handzeichnungen ('Albrecht Dürer's Christian Mythological Drawings') or the Prayer-Book of Maximillian, was also a major rediscovery of early German art.

The book contains forty-four lithographs after Dürer's drawings, executed by Johann Strixner (1782-1855). They are not true facsimiles, as they fail to reproduce the original interaction of the drawings with the printed text. Here (plate 25) the fox luring fowls with pipe music appears as a charming drollery, whereas it originally illustrated the 'Lead us not into temptation' verse from the Lord's Prayer.

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More information

Bibliography

G. Bartrum (ed.), Albrecht Dürer and his legacy: (London and N.J., The British Museum Press and Princeton University Press, 2002)

Dimensions

Height: 353.000 mm (page)
Width: 241.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1973-U.1171

PPA94382

Location

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