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Collection of the Guild of St George, Museums Sheffield
Knight, Death and the Devil
Date Made/Found: 1513
Artist: Albrecht Dürer , German, 1471 - 1528
Printmaker: Albrecht Dürer , German, 1471 - 1528
Material and Medium: engraving on paper
Dimensions: Mount: 594 x 420mm Support: 243 x 185mm
Department: Ruskin
Accession Number: CGSG00060
Dürer called this symbolic engraving 'The Rider'. Travelling through a dark and rocky gorge, he ignores the surrounding dangers and represents Christians who travel through life in an honourable way. The theme relates to the philosopher Erasmus' book, 'Instructions for the Christian Soldier' of 1504, which uses the image of a pathway leading through a dangerous gorge to symbolise life. A skull and a grotesque figure holding an hourglass (Death) become ‘memento mori'. Translating as 'Remember you shall die', these aren’t warnings of imminent death but reminders that death comes to everyone; status or wealth count for nothing after death. Therefore, while Death isn’t an immediate threat, he reminds the knight to guard against vanity as his time on earth is short. The Devil follows the knight. The knight and his dog completely ignore this figure, suggesting that the knight is not tempted by sin and corruption. Dogs too usually symbolise faith and devotion. This was one of John Ruskin’s favourite prints. He told art students to copy Dürer's prints to learn about creating form, texture, light and shadow.
Display Location: In Store
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