Single Point Perspective: Dürer’s Doomed Knight

May 6, 2013 5:49PM

Chock-full of symbols — from the skull, dog and salamander along the bottom edge to the distant castle towers grazing the top — the picture sets its action in a compressed space barely the width of the Knight’s horse. With his diagonally oriented lance cropped at both ends, the Knight seems wedged, almost entombed, inside the borders of the print, as his two unwelcome visitors, Death and the Devil, encroach upon him from the jagged shadows of the shallow space behind.


Image: Albrecht Dürer, “Knight, Death and Devil” (1513). Engraving, overall: 9 5/8 x 7 3/8 inches. Albertina, Vienna (image courtesy the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC)