Sea Monster (Das Meerwunder)

Albrecht Dürer - engraver

Albrecht Dürer - engraver - Sea Monster (Das Meerwunder)
Donated 1884 by Vojtěch Lanna. The engraving of the enigmatic subject ranks among the most famous but also the most disputed works by Dürer. The rendition, which the author himself came to call „Das Meerwunder“, has been interpreted in various ways, usually as developing one of the Classical myths about kidnapping a woman. The most recent prevailing opinion is that the inspiration for the scene was German sagas or, more precisely, the legend about Theodelinda the queen of the Lombards, kidnapped by a sea monster. Dürer captured the kidnapped woman in a classical pose, as a Venus; she is calmly resting on the side of the water demon, and only the expression in her face betrays her fear. The female nude bespeaks of Dürer’s interest in human anatomy and proportions, as well as the fact that he became influenced by Italian art during his first sojourn to the Apennine Peninsula (1494 - 1495). The background displays figures augmenting the dramatic character of the scene - female companions running away from the water in panic and a man moaning on the shore. The rock is crowned by the Nuremberg imperial castle.
measurements: height 250 mm
width 190 mm
in collections:
material: paper
technique: engraving
inventory number: R 644
gallery collection: Collection of Prints and Drawings