Albrecht Dürer, ‘A Turkish Family (B. 85; M., Holl. 80; S.M.S. 12)’, ca. 1496, Christie's Old Masters

Engraving, circa 1496, with part of a Bull's Head watermark, a fine Meder a impression, very skilfully restored and remargined.

As a depiction of colourful street life, this is an antecedent of Rembrandt's etchings of beggars and tramps and Callot's Les Gueux. Best described as a genre scene, it highlights Dürer's particular interest in the representation of couples. Anzelewsky has convincingly demonstrated the subject to be a family of gypsies who, with their turbans and the woman's exposed breast and naked feet, strike an exotic and erotic note. The motif goes back to earlier 15th century engravings by the Master of the Housebook and the Master BR respectively, neither of whom can match Dürer's subtlety and psychological insight. Dürer goes beyond the merely picturesque and explores the nuances of the couples' relationship. The wife in the Turkish Family demurely yet graciously follows her husband a few steps behind.

Norbert Handwerk (born 1909), Munich and Switzerland, with his paraphe in pencil verso; Christie's, New York, _Engravings, Etchings and

Drypoints by Albrecht Dürer from a Private Swiss Collection_, 19

November 1986, lot 514 (US$5,500).

About Albrecht Dürer

Considered one of the foremost artists of the Renaissance period, Albrecht Dürer’s extensive work in printmaking transformed the categorization of the medium from craft to fine art. Often depicting religious subjects, Dürer’s woodcuts and engravings demonstrated unprecedented technical skill, tonal variation, and compositional sophistication. Dürer theorized extensively on linear perspective and anatomical proportion, concerns that were articulated in a vast body of written work as well as in his paintings and prints. Dürer’s skill earned him the role of court artist for Holy Roman Emperors Maximilian I and Charles V, under whom he created a number of paintings and altarpieces. Dürer’s series of self-portraits, created throughout his career, represent some of his most iconic works.

German, 1471-1528, Nuremberg, Germany, based in Nuremberg, Germany