- Museum number
A woman of Nuremberg dressed for church, one of a group of costume studies; whole-length almost in profile to right, her head lowered, wearing a folded cloth head-dress. 1500
- Production date
Height: 316 millimetres
Width: 171 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This is one of a group of costume studies which Dürer made in 1500 of women of Nuremberg dressed for the house, for church and for going to a dance, which he possibly produced for a projected series of prints that was never executed (Strauss 1500/1 - 1500/7). The delicate shades of wash used here suggest that this is an early study and the resemblance of the lady's features to Dürer's wife, Agnes (see Dürer and his Legacy, fig.18, p.75) indicate that she may have served as a model, although the expensive clothes represented here, and in the other drawings of the group, were associated with women of a higher social class. A more finished version of the figure, with the outlines emphasised in pen and ink and a clearer indication of the ground under her feet, is in the Albertina, Vienna (Strauss 1500/5; see T. Eser and D.Hess (ed) 'Der Frühe Dürer/The Early Dürer, exhibition catalogue, Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, 2012, p.367, fig.1a). Dürer used the figure a few years later in his woodcut of the 'Marriage of the Virgin' (Meder 194) where she is seen, in the reverse sense, in the right foreground. A colour aquatint, published in 1798, was made by Conrad Metz (1749-1827) in the reverse sense after the drawing when it was in the possession of Edward Knight. A sixteenth-century copy of 1895,0915.973 made in pen and brown ink with grey wash is also in the British Museum (Appendix II, no. 15).
Dürer's interest in the details of fashion and costume remained with him throughout his life and formed an intrinsic part of his portraits. Studies of women's costume are seen in his drawings of women in Venetian dress made during his first trip to Italy (Strauss 1495/4 - 6; 1495/8-9) and in drawings of various women when he visited the Netherlands 1520-21(see Dürer and his Legacy, no 152 and Strauss 1520/24-25; 1520/32). The distinctive pleated cloak worn for going to church, with an expensive silk lining of a different colour, was an important part of a patrician lady's wardrobe. The head-dress, known as a 'Stürz', was made of starched linen supported over a frame. It was fashionable in Nuremberg over a long period; Dürer drew three different angles of the head-dress in 1527, inscribing the sheet 'this is the millinery fashion and the attire of the honourable ladies of Nuremberg' (Strauss 1527/3).
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. 145:: Metz, Imitations, 1798, repr.; Waagen, Treasures, iv, p. 188; JCR, pp. 174ff., no. 520*; Thausing, i, p. 143, n.; BM Guide, 1895, p. 55, no. 271; Conway, p. 14, under no. 190; Lippmann, vi, p. 22, under no. 703; BM Guide, 1928, p. 21, no. 198; Tietze, i, p. 56, under no. 187; Schilling, Nürnberger Handz., p. 28, no. 16, repr.; Winkler, Dürer, i, p. 162, no. 232, repr.; Panofsky, ii, p. 126, no. 1282; Winkler, Leben, p. 178; Rupprich, i, p. 205, no. 15; Rowlands, Dürer, p. 13, no. 68; Strauss, ii, p. 510, no. 1500/4, repr.; BM Dürer and Holbein, p. 72, no. 46, repr.
Further lit: G. Bartrum, Dürer and his Legacy, exh. cat, British Museum, 2002, no. 79; A.Scherbaum in 'Albrecht Dürer. Das druckgraphische Werk' Band II, 'Holzsnitte und Holzschnittfolgen, Munich, 2002, p.242, under no.172; J. Mack-Andrick in D.Lüdke et al, 'Grünewald und seine Zeit, exh. cat. Karlsruhe, Kunsthalle, 2007, no. 21
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1895 BM London, Guide Drawings Old Masters, Malcolm Collection, no. 271
1928 BM London, Guide Woodcuts, Drawings of A. Dürer, no. 198
1971 BM, Dürer no.68
1984 BM, Master Drawings & Watercolours, no. 46
1996/7 Sep-Jan, BM, Malcolm Collection, no. 67
2002/3 Dec-Mar, BM, Dürer and his Legacy, no. 79
2007/8 Dec-Mar, Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle, 'Grünewald'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number