Albrecht Dürer, ‘The Adoration of Magi (B. 3; M., Holl. 208; S.M.S. 225)’, 1511, Christie's Old Masters

Woodcut, 1511, watermark Bull's Head with Letters JZ (M. 70), a very good Meder b impression, with thread margins, trimmed to the borderline in places, a repaired and made up area on the horizontal beam at left, another small repair in the blank area above.

Dürer made this woodcut the same year he published another version of the same subject in the Life of the Virgin. Since this block is nearly half an inch wider than the prints in the series, he cannot have made it as a replacement for the earlier woodcut. Nevertheless it represents a remarkable development and gives reason to think that Dürer might have grown dissatisfied with his earlier effort. The comparison shows what clarity and monumentality he now brought to individual forms and the whole composition alike.

Peter Lely (1618-1680), London (L. 2092); possibly his posthumous sale, Sonnius, Lankrink and Thompson, London, 11 April 1688.

Princes of Liechtenstein, by repute (not in Lugt).

Sotheby's, London, 15 March 1952.

With Colnaghi's, London (their stocknumber C. 27654 in pencil

verso); purchased at the above sale, sold to a private collector on 26 September 1952.

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