Symbolism of Albrecht Durer Essay

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Symbolism of Albrecht Durer Albrecht Durer completed the “Master Engravings” in the years 1513 and 1514. With these three engravings (Knight, Death, and Devil, St. Jerome in His Study, and Melencolia I) he reached the high point of his artistic expression and concentration. each print represents a different philosophical perspective on the “worlds” respectively of action, spirit, and intellect. Although Durer himself evidently did not think of the three as a set, He sometimes sold or gave St. Jerome and Melencolia I as a pair.

In the engraving, Knight, Death, and Devil, it appears that the hero (the Knight) is gaining a moral victory over death. The Knight has often been interpreted as Erasmus’s sturdy Christian soldier who
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Death also has snakes encircling his head and neck as he slides up to the Knight and tries in vain to frighten him by holding up an hourglass while the swine-snouted Devil sneaks up behind him with a pickaxe. Their failed attempt to capture the rider’s attention conveys the idea of unconquerable progress.

The 1514 engraving of ‘St. Jerome in his Study’ is chronologically approximately in the middle of the group, but it shows the deepest penetration of the subject. The Saint has ceased to be a legendary figure and has become the symbol of learned existence and felicity. St. Jerome is working at the far end of the room, which in itself gives the impression of remoteness and peace. His little desk is placed on a large table which otherwise holds nothing but an inkpot and a crucifix. Engrossed in his writing, he if blissfully alone with his thoughts, with his animals, and with his God. The cell, which in previous versions was always more or less cave-like, cold and drear, has now become a warm, comfortable, Late Gothic study; the lion is now really a household pet, blinking peacefully, with a dog asleep at his side. The landscape element is restricted to the morning sun shining in at the window and intimated by the great gourd, transformed into a household plant. Even this harmless gourd has not escaped the attention of the learned seekers after hidden meanings. Wustmann disinterred the
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