Albrecht Dürer

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Albrecht Dürer
Madonna by the Wall
Engraving on paper.
5 3/4 x 3 15/16 inches (146 X 101 mm)
Gift of Mrs. Livio Borghese in honor of Charles E. Pierce, Jr.

Executed the same year as his famous compositions of Melancholia I and St. Jerome in his Study, this engraving of the Virgin with the Christ Child, seated by a wall leading back to a city view in the distance, is one of Dürer's most monumental representations of this theme. The restless line and dynamic action that characterize his earlier work on this subject are harnessed into a sculptural stillness that conveys a regal but humble quality. The figure of the Virgin is presented as fully three dimensional; all attention is focused on the depiction of her drapery and the plasticity of her form. The venerable art historian Erwin Panofsky considered this the most fully satisfying of Dürer's engraved Madonnas.


Monogrammed and dated on a tablet on the wall at right.

Helen P. Burtis; her estate sale, Sotheby's, New York, 10 May 1973, Lot 65; Mrs. Livio Borghese, New York.
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