ALBRECHT DÜRER (1471-1528)
The Whore of Babylon, from: The Apocalypse
woodcut, circa1496-97, on laid paper, watermark Tower with Crown and Flower (Meder 259), a very good impression from the Latin text edition of 1511
Sheet 395 x 281 mm.
Bartsch 73; Meder, Hollstein 177; Schoch Mende Scherbaum 125
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Lot Essay

In his depictions of Saint John's cryptic visions, Dürer aimed for a high degree of realism, as is particularly apparent in the present image. The figure and attire of the Whore is closely related to a highly finished drawing of a Venetian lady he made on his first trip to Venice in 1494-95 (W. 69). Venice, at the time the largest and richest city in Europe, was famous for its courtesans and the alluring appearance and louche behaviour of its women.

Dürer rendered the woman's dress and coiffure, the plants in the foreground and the landscape in the distance with greatest detail and accuracy. By taking such pains to describe the natural, visible world, the dramatic, supernatural events unfolding within it appear no less real.
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