- Museum number
Blue Roller hanging from a nail, after Dürer; still-life study of a dead bird hung by a cord threaded through its nostrils from a nail in a wall, the wings hanging either side of the body and the feet hanging closely together. 1583
Brush drawing in bodycolour, on vellum
- Production date
Height: 370 millimetres
Width: 181 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Summary ofJ.Rowlands 'Drawings by German Artists and Artists from German- speaking regions of Europe in the Department of Prints and Dawings at the British Museum: the Fifteenth Century,and the Sixteenth Century by Artists born before 1530', London, BM Press, 1993, no.268:
'This drawing was aptly described by Parker as 'an independent imitation' of Dürer's famous drawing of 1512 in the Albertina, Vienna (inv. no. 3133.D. 105; Winkler, 'Dürer', iii, pl. 615). It was drawn when the original was in the collection of Willibald Imhoff the Elder. It differs so markedly from its model that one can say that Hoffmann has adapted it to create something new, a still-life picture of a dead bird hung by a red cord threaded through its nostrils from a nail in a wall, rather than a meticulous study of a dead specimen. In doing this Hoffmann was following a practice of earlier northern draughtsmen, especially Dürer, as seen in his 'Dead duck' in Lisbon (Winkler, 'Dürer', iii, pl. 616; M. Fidalgo in 'Von Schönheit und Tod' exh.cat. Karlsruhe, 2011, no. 1), and Lucas Cranach and his studio, such as his 'Two dead partridges' in Dresden, Kupferstich-Kabinett (inv.no. C.1195; see S. Buck, 'Temptation in Eden: Lucas Cranach's Adam and Eve' exhibition catalogue, London, Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, 2007, pp.104-107, no. 9), both of which depict dead birds hung from a nail, with the wall behind indicated, as here, by the birds' shadow. Hoffmann has embellished the drawing by emphasising the blue wings and the heightening in the feathers with additional bodycolour in a virtuoso display of technical skill which distunguishes his style from Dürer's more minimal brushstrokes. Hoffmann's bird although dead has the gloss of a living creature. He also made direct copies of Dürer's famous drawing (see British Museum, inv.no. Gg,2.220) which follow the original more closely.'
Lit from Rowlands 1993: 'BM Guide, 1891, no. 60; BM Guide, 1928, p. 39, no. 335; F. Winkler, Prussian Jahrbuch, liii, 1932, p. 81; K. Pilz, Mitt. Nuremberg, li, 1962, p. 261, no. 24; Rowlands, Dürer, p. 54, no. 337; Albertina, Dürer, p. 188, under no. 34; Strauss, ii, p. 615, under no. 1502/11 (copy, no. 3); Koreny, Tier- und Pflanzenstudien, p. 60, no. 13, repr.'
Further lit: G.Bartrum, 'Albrecht Dürer and his Legacy', exh.cat. BM, 2002, no. 228; H. Jacob-Friesen in 'Von Schönheit und Tod: Tierstilleben von der Renaissance bis zur Moderne', exhibition catalogue edited by H. Jacob-Friesen et al, Karlsruhe, Kunsthalle, 2011, pp. 150-1, no. 3; S. Brisman, 'The Unassembled Grammar of Drawing in the Age of Early Reform' Art History 40:2 (April 2017) fig. 12.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1928 BM London, Guide Woodcuts, Drawings of A. Dürer, no. 335
1971 BM, Dürer no.337
2002/3 Dec-Mar, BM Albrecht Dürer and his Legacy, no. 228
2009 Jan-Apr, London, Hayward Gallery, Mark Wallinger show
2011-12: Nov-Feb: Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle, 'Death & Beauty'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number