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DURER, Albrecht (1471-1528). The Four Avenging Angels. Nuremberg, 1511.

DURER, Albrecht (1471-1528). The Four Avenging Angels. Nuremberg, 1511.

38,000.00
Single sheet, float mounted and framed (sheet size: 15 ½ x 11 ¼ inches; frame size: 20 ½ x 16 ¼ inches). Fine engraving. CONDITION REPORT: Little to no sign of wear. Trimmed on the black border line, with the border line preserved on all sides.

Single sheet, float mounted and framed (sheet size: 15 ½ x 11 ¼ inches; frame size: 20 ½ x 16 ¼ inches). Fine engraving. CONDITION REPORT: Little to no sign of wear. Trimmed on the black border line, with the border line preserved on all sides.

Second Latin edition, first published in 1498. Hollstein 3, with text on verso reading "videtur angelus stans sup montem..."; one crack in the upper border; and two wormholes; but no discernible watermark. "The Apocalypse was Durer's first major work. That this was a breakthrough in his career indicates, tellingly, that he thought in terms and images of the printed book. The Apocalypse appeared simultaneously in two separate editions with separate titles: 'Apocalipsis Cum Figuris' and 'Die heimlich offenbarung iohannis' ('The Apocalypse with Pictures' and 'The Hidden Revelation of John'). The Latin version reprints the text of Jerome's Vulgate with Jerome's introduction; the German edition reprints the text of the Koberger Bible of 1483, the most fluent of the German translations to be printed before Luther's version…Durer's third edition, a Latin printing of 1511 done by a different printer, Hieronymus Holtzel, also uses the original fifteen blocks, but with the addition of a woodcut title page" (Price, p. 34, 36).

This woodcut "is one of the most celebrated compositions of the series. The four angels, armed with great swords, hew down in ferocious vengeance all ranks of men alike. An emperor and a pope, as in the former illustration, are amongst the number of the slain, and the beggar's rags protect him no better than the emperor's purple…The riders on the lion-headed horses occupy the space immediately above the earth, and the fire, smoke, and brimstone that issue from their mouths destroy those whom the angels have not killed. God the Father, a half figure surrounded by the rainbow, sits above; to the right and left are the angels of the fifth and sixth trumpets. The sense of movement in this plate is something extraordinary. You feel the rush of those awful lion-headed beasts, and hear the wild tumult of the doomed earth, and the fearful cries that go up to heaven in vain" (Heaton, p. 116).

"The political and ecclesiastical hierarchies are again joined in the Four Avenging Angels, where, according to the text, a third of humankind is destroyed. This time, the pope is among the leaders of the doomed, and, to be sure, butchering the pope is a vivid part of the composition. This detail became something of a favorite in twentieth-century history books. But looking at the detail alone can be misleading since the slaughter is of the masses: an emperor, a knight, a woman, and a man are murdered simultaneously with the pope" (Price, p. 46). David Price, "Albrect Durer's Renaissance: Humanism, Reformation, and the Art of Faith." Mrs. Charles Heaton, "The History of the Life of Albrecht Durer of Nurnberg." Bartsch 69; Meder 171.
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