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This is Dürer’s largest and, in its wealth of pictorial detail, most ambitious engraving. It demonstrates the artist’s intense scientific interest in nature. The subject of St Eustace’s sudden conversion to Christianity when confronted by a stag with a crucifix between its antlers provided Dürer with the opportunity to depict a variety of animals in different poses, together with a magnificent landscape. In this print Dürer brilliantly manipulated the engraving medium to realise his composition in terms of overall tonal modulation and textural description, rather than clearly differentiated contour lines.

Text © National Gallery of Victoria, Australia

Details

  • Title: St Eustace
  • Creator: Albrecht Dürer
  • Date Created: (c. 1501)
  • Physical Dimensions: 35.5 x 26.0 cm (Image)
  • Type: Prints
  • Rights: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Felton Bequest, 1956, © National Gallery of Victoria
  • External Link: National Gallery of Victoria
  • Medium: engraving
  • Provenance: Collection of Franz Gawet (1765–1847) (Lugt 1069), by 1800–44; included in the Gawet sale, Artaria, Vienna, 9 December 1844 (and subsequent days), no. 375; from where purchased by Groffer (?); collection of Alexander Emil Posonyi (1839–99) (dealer-collector), Vienna (Lugt 2041), before 1867; Posonyi Dürer sale, Maillinger, Munich, 11–13 November 1867, no. 71; Königliches Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin, duplicate (Lugt 1607 & 2482, the latter with the date [19]07); P. & D. Colnaghi, London; from where purchased by Sir Thomas Barlow (1883–1964), Manchester; from whom purchased for the Felton Bequest, 1956.
  • Catalogue raisonné: Bartsch 57
  • Biography: Albrecht Dürer was one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance, renowned for his exceptional artistic and intellectual abilities, and for his far-reaching influence upon contemporary, and successive, generations of artists. His life spanned late medieval, Renaissance and Reformation times, and the profound intellectual, religious and artistic changes that marked this period were reflected in his art and thinking. Dürer’s traditional medieval training was transformed by first-hand contact with the art of the Italian Renaissance, and he was responsible for introducing into Germany, through his art and theoretical writings, the forms and ideals of the new Italian art. While he was acclaimed as a painter, it was Dürer’s prints that secured his fame, and spread his stylistic, iconographic and technical innovations throughout Europe.
  • Additional information: The National Gallery of Victoria has an internationally acclaimed Dürer collection. Numbering some five hundred engravings, woodcuts, books and one drawing, the collection of prints is virtually complete, lacking only three engravings that are known solely in unique impressions. The core of the Gallery’s holdings is the Sir Thomas Barlow collection, acquired through the Felton Bequest in 1956, which is renowned for the outstanding quality of its impressions and for the rarities it contains.

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