- Museum number
Recto: The seated Virgin and Child with two drapery studies
Verso: The Virgin and Child seated at the foot of a tree; turned slightly to right, with a study of the Virgin's right arm and the artist's left hand, and drapery
Pen and brown ink on both sides
- Production date
- 1491-1492 (circa)
Height: 205 millimetres
Width: 197 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The studies on this sheet belong to the artist's period of travel undertaken after his apprenticeship, from 1490-94. The period was mostly spent in the Upper Rhineland. His admiration for Schongauer's work is evident in this drawing, especially in the oval-shaped face of the Virgin, her downcast gaze and her tender attitude, as well as the heavy angular drapery, which are all essential elements of Schongauer's prints, such as the 'Virgin and Child on a grassy bench' (Hollstein 36) with which Dürer would have been familiar. The compositions on both sides of this sheet are closely related to the 'Holy Family' on the verso of Dürer's 'Self-portrait' in Erlangen (see 'Dürer and his Legacy', 2002, no. 3) which must have been drawn at a similar period while Dürer was away from Nuremberg. Dürer developed ideas from all these compostions in his earliest engraving of the Virgin and Child of c.1495 (Hollstein 42) in which the figure of the Virgin is fuller and the drapery more elaborate yet the tender gaze between mother and child is similar to that seen here. Dürer's interest in drawing parts of his own body at this time is also evident from the isolated study of his left hand on the verso of the sheet.
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. 120:
Dürer Society, iii, 1900, pp. 4f., nos. iii and iv, repr.; Weinberger, p. 167; Lippmann, vi, p. 9, nos. 599, 600, repr.; Tietze, i, p. 5, nos. 19, 20, repr.; Flechsig, Dürer, ii, pp. 113f; Panofsky, ii, p. 74, nos. 651, 652; Rowlands, Dürer, p. 4, no. 11; Strauss, i, pp. 48ff., nos. 1491/4 and 5, repr.; BM Dürer and Holbein, p. 64, no. 37, repr.
Further lit: G. Bartrum, 'Dürer and his Legacy' exhibition catalogue, London, British Museum, 2002, no. 27; Joseph L. Koerner, 'Dürer's hands', The Council of the Frick Collection Lecture Series, New York, 2006, pp 12-25
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1984 BM, 'Master Drawings & Watercolours', no. 48
1988 Jul-Oct, BM, 'Age of Dürer & Holbein', no. 37
2002/3 Dec-Mar, BM, 'Dürer and his Legacy', no. 27
2004 Mar-Jun, London, National Gallery, 'Dürer and the Virgin in the Garden'
2013/14, Oct - Jan, London, Courtauld Gallery, 'Young Dürer'
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45. The British Museum welcomes information and assistance in the investigation and clarification of the provenance of all works during that era.
Accepted by HM Government from the estate of Eric Korner in lieu of tax and allocated to the BM.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number