The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne
Albrecht Dürer (1471 – Nuremberg – 1528), The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne ca. 1500, engraving; 115 x 71 mm (4 ½ x 2 13/16 inches), Bartsch 29; Meder 43 a (of c); Schoch/Mende/Scherbaum 27
watermark: bull’s head (Meder 62)
Norbert Handwerk, Munich and Switzerland (with his paraphe in pencil verso);
his sale, Christie’s, New York, November 19, 1986, lot 481
Samuel Josefowitz, Pully
his sale, Christie’s, New York, January 29, 2013, lot 27
A fine impression of this rare print; trimmed to or just outside the subject, missing a tiny part of the lower left corner; otherwise in very good condition.
Most images of St Anne with the Virgin and Child show the latter seated on St Anne’s lap, though sometimes they are shown standing. St Anne was very popular in Germany in the Middle Ages and especially at the turn of the 15th to the 16th centuries after Pope Sixtus IV added her feast to the Roman church calender in 1481. For this engraving Dürer devised a radically new version of the theme with the Virgin standing and holding out the Child to her mother, who makes a gesture of blessing. The presence of God the Father and of the Dove above the figure of Christ turns it into an image of the Trinity in addition to one of Jesus’ human descent.