Albrecht Dürer
German, 1471-1528

Adam and Eve, 1504
Engraving on cream laid paper
Gift of Mrs. Felix M. Warburg and her children
Period: 16th c
Classification: Print
Dimensions: Sheet: 10 x 7 11/16 in. (25.4 x 19.53 cm) Image: 9 13/16 x 7 9/16 in. (24.92 x 19.21 cm)
Signatures, Inscriptions and Markings v
Watermark: bull's head (Meder 62)
Catalogue Raisonné: Bartsch/Meder 1; Panofsky 108; Strauss 42
Provenance v
Collections: Karl Edward von Liphart (1808-91, Lugt 1687); Felix M. and Frieda Warburg, New York
Published References v
Bartsch/Meder 1; Panofsky 108; Stauss 42; Limouze 1
Exhibition History v
Poughkeepsie, New York, FLLAC (Prints and Drawings Gallery), Vassar College, "Revealed Anew: Selections from Permanent Collections," 7 November - 4 January 2008; "Master Printmakers: Albrecht Dürer and the Renaissance in Germany," Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA, 21 December 1991 - 15 March 1992; Poughkeepsie, New York, FLLAC "Albrecht Durer: Impressions of the Renaissance", 14 November 2009- 24 December 2009.
Description v
This large engraving by Dürer is a technical tour de force and, at the time of its execution, Dürer’s summa on the subject of printmaking, extending his powers of illusion in this art form far beyond that of any practitioner to date. The delicate hatching that forms the shading of the abdomen of Adam, for example, is composed of small organized universes of lines completely under the control of a master. The figure’s proportions and pose are derived from the sculpture of classical antiquity, an early appearance of this in- fluence in the art of Germany. In this print, the Garden of Eden is trans- formed into a northern European forest inhabited by a number of animals at rest, in addition to the First Parents succumbing to the temptation of the serpent. These animals have been interpreted as symbolizing each of the four classical humors or fluids that, according to medicine of the time, dic- tated the personalities of individuals when out of balance. Adam and Eve was one of over one hundred and fifty works of art donated by the family of Felix M.Warburg to Vassar in 1941 following the great banker and philanthropist’s death. The Vassar gifts were dominated by prints by Dürer and Rembrandt, and form the core of a very strong Old Master print collec- tion.
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