The Nativity, Albrecht Durer

The Nativity, Albrecht Durer engraving
The Nativity, Albrecht Durer

Engraving, in the collection of the national Gallery of Art, DC, which has both zoomable and downloadable files. There is also a zoomable file on the Google Art Project and a downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons.

In this beautiful early 16th century engraving by one of the great masters of printmaking, Durer seems more concerned with the setting than the event. Perhaps he was simultaneously indulging his patrons’ preference for religious themed prints and his own preference for exploring the visual world around him.

I love the little bird on the signpost on which Durer has hung a sign with the date and his monogram.

The Nativity; NGA, DC

7 Replies to “The Nativity, Albrecht Durer”

  1. That little bird appears to be a gesture as part of his signature, compared to the attention and refinement in the rest of the work.

    Thank you Charley, and Merry Christmas.


  2. What is the strange object in the sky seen through the window (in the bottom-most detail)? I can’t quite make it out.

  3. Thanks, that helped. I’m going with an angel carrying a scroll (making his announcement to the shepherd, or at least the sheep, on the hill). I notice Maes left it out of his version.

  4. Maes may have left it out of the painting because he did not know what is was either. I like the idea of angel too which would make sense in a nativity scene. Durer did make use of symbols, masonic and I think alchemy symbols too. It does look vaguely similar to alchemy symbols of the time although why in this one would he place an alchemy symbol? Such an enigma.

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