Albrecht Dürer, ‘The Ill-Assorted Couple (or The Promise of Love)’, 1495, Galerie d'Orsay

Signature: Signed in the plate with the artist's monogram lower center.

A strong, dark and richly printed 16th century/lifetime Meder "c" (of "e") impression of the first state of three. Bartsch 93; Dodgson 5; Meder 77 I.c/III; Panofsky 200; Strauss 5; Schoch/Mende/Scherbaum 3. Trimmed down to or just outside the platemark on all four sides, otherwise in excellent condition.

The style of the monogram indicates that this is one of Dürer’s earliest engravings. Although a moralizing theme was read into this episode by some early commentators, Dürer probably intended to do no more than to portray purchased love.

Collections in which comparable impressions of this engraving can be found: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Offentliche Kunstsammlungen, Basel; Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Herzog Anton, Ulrich Museum, Braunschweig; The British Museum, London, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Printed after the appearance of the faint vertical scratch in front of the horse, but well prior to the retouching of the mountains and the woman’s veil, printed circa 1514.

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