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Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528)
Kneeling Donor, 1506
Brush and black ink, gray wash, heightened with white bodycolor, with accents in pen and dark ink, on blue Venetian paper
Signed with the artist's monogram and dated, at lower left, in brown ink, 1506.
12 3/4 x 7 11/16 inches (323 x 198 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910; I, 257c
See CORSAIR catalog record for this item »

Dürer's interest in proportion and portraiture unite in this religious subject. This study is for one of his most prestigious commissions, the Feast of the Rose Garlands, an altarpiece now in the National Gallery, Prague. Created for the German Confraternity of the Rosary in Venice, it originally stood in the church of San Bartolomeo. While this figure corresponds to one of the donors flanking the Virgin and Child in the painting, the drawing is not merely a preparatory sketch but a highly finished work of art. Dürer chose a rich blue paper—the Venetian carta azzurra that he adopted during his 1505–7 sojourn in Italy—and used black and white heightening to achieve a full range of tonal effects.

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Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.