Albrecht Dürer, ‘Saint Anthony reading (B. 58; M., Holl. 51; S.M.S. 87)’, 1519, Christie's Old Masters

Engraving, 1519, without watermark, a superb Meder a impression, with narrow margins, in excellent condition.

Very similar to the fine example from the Cracherode collection in the British Museum, which in direct comparison with the present impression however lacks a little bit of warmth and brilliance.

Saint Anthony (circa 251-356), an Egyptian monk who as a 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 45). However, instead of a comfortable room, Dürer has placed the ascetic saint in front of a spectacular cityscape, 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.

Felix Somary (1881-1956), Vienna and Zurich (not in Lugt).

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