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Miscellany Prints

DURER, Albrecht (1471-1528). Five Soldiers and a Turk on Horseback. [?Amsterdam], c. 1495.

DURER, Albrecht (1471-1528). Five Soldiers and a Turk on Horseback. [?Amsterdam], c. 1495.


Single sheet, float mounted and framed (5 1/8 x 5 ¾ inches). EXCEPTIONALLY FINE EARLY ENGRAVING by Durer. CONDITION REPORT: Trimmed just outside the borderline at right and in places below, trimmed on or 1mm within elsewhere, a minor paper disturbance at upper right corner (due to the hinge) with an associated 8mm vertical repaired tear at right of upper sheet edge, a few scattered pale fox marks, a brown ink (?) stain between the legs of the central figures, a central horizontal fold (mainly visible verso), otherwise in good condition.

VERY GOOD Meder B-C impression, on paper with a bull’s head watermark (M. 62). This famous, early engraving has also been variously known as “Five Soldiers and a Mounted Turk,” “The Assembly of Warriors,” “The Six Warriors, “William Tell,” and “The Robbers,” “the latter on the gratuitous supposition that it represents Durer (the man seen full face) fallen into the hands of brigands. It is probably only a study of costumes. Notice the Scotch plaid pattern on the saddle-cloth of the Turk” (“A Chronological Catalogue of the Engravings, Dry-Points and Etchings of Albert Durer as Exhibited at the Grolier Club, 1897).

“As he did for so many categories of sixteenth-century German art, Albrecht Durer established early prototypes for later images of Ottoman Turks. Beginning with his fit contact with the art of Venice in 1494, the artist turned his omnivorous gaze onto its Turkish visitors, as he documented their exotic dress and imagined their absent sultan. His series of drawings emphasizes distinctively costumed individuals…Durer’s prints also included images of ‘Turkish’ foes within contemporary German military groups. An early engraving, ‘Five Soldiers and a Turk on Horseback’ (ca. 1495), celebrates the imperial infantry, bearing pikes and halberds, while a mounted, turbaned Turk behind them glowers disapprovingly, held at bay” (Bohn and Saslow, eds., pp. 93-94). Babette Bohn and James M. Saslow, “A Companion to Renaissance and Baroque Art.” B. 88; M, HOLL. 81.


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