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The Emperors Charlemagne and Sigismund

Albrecht DürerCirca 1507-1510

The Courtauld Institute of Art

The Courtauld Institute of Art
London, United Kingdom

This drawing was produced in preparation for a prestigious commission from the city of Nuremberg. Organised across two panels, it pairs the founder of the Holy Roman Empire, Charlemagne (around 742–814) on the left, with Sigismund of Luxemburg (1368–1437), who deposited the Imperial regalia in Nuremberg in 1424. Despite its many details, including the hinges on the central frame, this sketch captures an early idea for the project. The final paintings show significant changes. These were intended for the chamber where the regalia were kept the night before their annual ceremonial display to the people.

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