Jun 8, 2015

The Great Triumphal Car of Emperor Maximilian

The Great Triumphal Car of Emperor Maximilian


Part of a set. See all set records

Albrecht Dürer

(German, 1471–1528)


Dudley P. Allen Fund 1945.26.5



Dürer conceived this fantastical chariot as part of a larger commission to depict Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I (reigned 1486–1519) in a triumphal procession. The ruler sits enthroned in the lavish car, as Victory holds a laurel wreath above his imperial crown. Her feathered wings list Maximilian’s military campaigns. Nearly every component of the allegorical pageant—from the entourage of female attendants to the laurel garlands—has a Latin label describing honorable qualities of an ideal prince. The car rolls on wheels of Magnificence, Honor, Dignity, and Glory. Its driver is Reason, who guides a team of 12 horses with reins of Nobility and Power. Virtues of Justice, Strength, Wisdom, and Temperance, stand on pedestals arranged around the emperor. Maximilian died in 1519, before the ambitious commission could be completed. Dürer published The Great Triumphal Car at his own expense with text composed by his friend Willibald Pirckheimer (1470–1530).

See also
PR - Woodcut
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
Dudley P. Allen Fund

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email [email protected].

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.