Jun 16, 2006

The Virgin and Child Seated by the Wall

The Virgin and Child Seated by the Wall


Albrecht Dürer

(German, 1471-1528)


Platemark: 14.7 x 9.9 cm (5 13/16 x 3 7/8 in.); Paper: 15 x 10.2 cm (5 7/8 x 4 in.)

Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland by exchange, and purchase from the Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1977.20

Catalogue raisonné: Meder 36



The Virgin in this small engraving appears monumental against a contemporary view of Nuremberg castle. Although she looks regal, Dürer underscores her humanity by presenting her in this modern context and by adding commonplace household keys and a money purse at her waist. As she sits serenely, the Christ Child displays an apple to the viewer as a reminder of the past, specifically the Fall of man and his divine role in the redemption of humanity. The arrangement and introspective character of this engraving have been compared to Dürer’s Melencolia I. Both were finished in the same year as his mother’s death—a difficult time for the artist. As the third of 18 children, of which only three reached adulthood, Dürer witnessed the particular joys and heartache of motherhood.

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