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drawing / album

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    SL,5261.101

  • Description

    An elk, formerly in an album originally containing 167 drawings of quadrupeds; standing in profile to left Pen and brush and black ink, with watercolour
    Verso: European bison; standing in profile to left, looking to front
    Pen and black ink

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1501-1504 (circa)
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 213 millimetres
    • Width: 260 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Inscribed by the artist in pen and black ink at the centre of the lower edge: "Heilennt"; added in a later hand in brown ink beneath this: the artist's monogram and “1519“
  • Curator's comments

    It is likely that this drawing of an elk (Alces alces, known in America as a moose) was made after a preserved specimen rather than a live animal. It possesses a somewhat stiff and lifeless appearance compared to the rapid sketch of the European bison (wisent) on the verso of the sheet. The elk is seen in reverse in the wooded background of Dürer's engraving, 'Adam and Eve' of 1504 (Hollstein 1). Flechsig considered that the manner in which Dürer has written 'Heilennt' on the sheet is close to his writing on drawings of about 1500. Winkler noted an historical circumstance that may have relevance: King Maximilian, later Emperor, visited Nuremberg from 13 to 21 April 1501, when, according to the chronicler Heinrich Deichsler (1430-1506/7), he was presented with five aurochsen as a parting gift (Deichsler, p. 643, under 21 April, "Item man schenkt dem kunig 5 aurerochsen, heten ein fremde gestalt"). The drawing on the verso was possibly made in connection with this occasion; for although both the wisent and the aurochs are extinct today, according to Johns it was not uncommon for the two types of wild cattle to be confused even when they were both extant. The European bison appears later in a more finished form drawn in green ink in Dürer's marginalia to the 'Prayerbook' of Maximilian of 1515 (Munich, Staatsbibliothek; Strauss, 1515/20).
    For a description of the album from the collection of Hans Sloane to which this sheet belongs, see SL,5261.1.
    From album SL,5261.1 to 167.

    Lit from J.Rowlands 'Drawings by German Artists and Artists from German-speaking regions of Europe in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum: the Fifteenth Century, and the Sixteenth Century by Artists born before 1530', London, BM Press, 1993, no. 160: H. David, Prussian Jahrbuch, xxxiii, 1912, pp. 23ff., repr.; Lippmann, vi, p. 14, nos. 641-2, repr.; BM Guide, 1928, p. 19, no. 173; Tietze, i, pp. 75-76, nos. 253-4, repr.; Flechsig, Dürer, ii, p. 114; Winkler, Dürer, i, p. 168, nos. 242-3, repr.; Panofsky, ii, pp. 128f, nos. 1319, 1305; Winkler, Leben, p. 164, n. 1; Rowlands, Dürer, pp. 8f., no. 98; Strauss, ii, pp. 568ff., nos. 1501/1 and 2, repr.; Koreny, Tier- und Pflanzenstudien, p. 22, repr.; BM Dürer and Holbein, p. 80, no. 52, repr. recto.

    Additional lit: R. Schoch in 'Albrecht Dürer. Das druckgraphische Werk' Band I, 'Kupferstiche, Eisenradierungen und Kaltnadelblätter' Munich, 2001, p.112, under no. 39; G.Bartrum, 'Albrecht Dürer and his Legacy', exhibition catalogue, London, British Museum, 2002, no. 94; C.Johns, 'Cattle: History, Myth, Art', London, 2011, p. 107

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Strauss 1974 1501/1 bibliographic details
    • Strauss 1974 1501/2 bibliographic details
    • Rowlands 1993 160 bibliographic details
    • Winkler 1936-9 242 bibliographic details
    • Winkler 1936-9 243 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (German Roy XVIc)

  • Exhibition history

    1928 BM London, Guide Woodcuts, Drawings of A. Dürer, no. 173
    1971 BM, Dürer no.98 1988 July-Oct, BM, Age of Dürer & Holbein, no. 52 2002/3 Dec-March, BM, Dürer and his Legacy, no. 94
    2012 April-Sep, London, National Gallery, Titian's First Masterpiece (verso)

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1753

  • Acquisition notes

    Transferred to Prints & Drawings, 17 November 1886 (see note on fly-leaf). Transferred from the Department of Manuscripts.

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    SL,5261.101

Elk, formerly in an album originally containing 167 drawings of quadrupeds; standing in profile to l. 1501-5 Pen and brush and black ink, with watercolour Verso: European bison; standing in profile to l, looking to front Pen and black ink

Recto

Elk, formerly in an album originally containing 167 drawings of quadrupeds; standing in profile to l. 1501-5 Pen and brush and black ink, with watercolour Verso: European bison; standing in profile to l, looking to front Pen and black ink

Image description

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