Abduction on Horseback, 1516
Inscribed at lower left, in pen and brown ink, lte 50 (?); at lower right, in pen and brown ink, 15
Pen and brown ink, with traces of underdrawing in black chalk; traced with a stylus
9 13/16 x 7 15/16 inches (251 x 201 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910
While consistently fascinated with the definition of beauty offered by classical models—the composition of this drawing may have its origins in Roman art and mythology—Dürer also embraced the indigenous German aesthetic. Although definitive identification of the subject of this drawing remains elusive, the male figure resembles the Wild Man, a folk character with a long tradition in German art. The drawing is distinguished by rough, parallel lines, which may relate to its use as a model for one of Dürer's six known etchings. At the time, etching was a new medium in northern Europe. In the 1516 print, the horse transforms into a unicorn and the bodies on the ground disappear.