Albrecht Dürer, ‘The Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin, from: The Life of the Virgin (B. 94; M., Holl. 206; S.M.S. 184)’, 1510, Christie's Old Masters

Woodcut, 1510, watermark Bull's Head with Cross (M. 66), a fine proof impression before the text edition of 1511, printing very evenly and with great contrast, with thread margins, trimmed to the borderline in places, a few small unobtrusive ink stains in the lower left forground, in the upper sky and on Christ's chest, otherwise in very good condition.

The composition of this print is closely related the central panel of the Heller Altarpiece, which was completed in 1509 and was later dispersed. (The surviving panels are today in Frankfurt and Karlsruhe.) Dürer seems to have developed the composition for the painting in a series of chiaroscuro drawings on colored paper heightened with white (W. 448-465), which formed also the stylistic basis for the woodcuts for the Life of the Virgin of 1510. Another preparatory drawing relating directly to this woodcut, executed in plain pen and ink, is in the Albertina (W. 471).

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