Author Archive

Joachim and Angel, woodcut proof 1504

Monday, May 18th, 2009


Albrecht Durer (1471-1528), Joachim and the Angel, from the Life of the Virgin, woodcut, 1504. Reference: Bartsch 78, Hollstein 190. A Meder a impression, with a High Crown watermark (Meder 20). In generally good condition apart from some light speckled foxing; paper disturbed at upper right corner due to the sharp edge of the top branch (described by Meder as indicative of an early impression); small rust spot at one of the upper branches; thin spot at upper right corner; an old horizontal fold visible verso. Narrow to thread margins, 11 3/4 x 8 3/4, the sheet 11 7/8 x 8 7/8 inches.

Meder notes the High Crown watermark (Meder 20) as characteristic of the Meder a impressions.

A fine Meder a proof impression, before the Latin Edition of 1511, with considerable gauffrage (embossing).


H.S. Theobald (Lugt 1375), probably sold at Gutekunst Stuttgart 12-14 May 1910 (Sale 769) as part of a complete Life of the Virgin in proof impressions. This sale is noted in Hollstein.

S. Barden (Lugt 218) and another monogram GB (not in Lugt).

Christie’s London, Sale of Old Master and Modern Prints, June, 2005.

Durer here recounts the period when Joachim had gone to the wilderness, having left the Temple in shame after his offering – in the hope’s of having a child with his wife Anne after some 20 years – was rejected by the high priest. As Anne was learning from an angel that she would bear a child – Mary – an angel appeared to Joachim telling him that Anne would bear a child and that he should go back to Jerusalem. In this woodcut Durer captures the moment when Joachim is on his knees in the wilderness praying, just before the angel (holding the cloth) annoints him.