ALBRECHT DÜRER (1471-1528)
Saint Anthony reading
engraving, 1519, on laid paper, without watermark, a fine, warm and silvery Meder a impression, printing very clearly and subtly
Sheet 102 x 142 mm.
Please note this lot is the property of a private individual.
Ludwig Maximilian Freiherr von Biegeleben (1812-1872), Germany and Vienna (Lugt 385); his posthumous sale, C.J. Wawra, Vienna, 5 February 1886 (and following days), lot 664 ('St. Antonius. B. 58. Sehr schöner, alter Abdruck von tadelloser Erhaltung.'; 45 Rm., to Dawson?).
With P. & D. Colnaghi, London (with their stocknumber C. 25281 in pencil verso).
Sir Clifford (1907-1982) and Lady Lucille (1898-1977) Curzon, London; acquired from the above on 6 May 1946 (according to invoice); then by descent to the present owner.
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Bartsch 58; Meder, Hollstein 51; Schoch Mende Scherbaum 87
Saint Anthony (circa 251-356), an Egyptian monk who as young man sought solitude, abstinence and meditation in the desert, is considered the first Christian hermit. Dürer, in one of his rare horizontal compositions, avoids the more picturesque episode of the saint's temptation and instead shows him in scholarly contemplation, not unlike Saint Jerome in his Study (lot 17). However, instead of a comfortable room, Dürer has placed the ascetic saint in front of a spectacular cityscape, reminscent of the artist's native Nuremberg, which for us today is probably the main attraction of this print.
As in many of his later prints, Dürer has reduced his palette to subtle gradations of silvery grey, and this renunciation of strong contrasts so well suits the quiet, reflective mood of the scene.