The Life of the Virgin VIII; The Visitation by Albrecht Dürer


The Life of the Virgin VIII; The Visitation

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Art work details

Albrecht Dürer
Medium :
Paper, Ink (printing)
Dimensions :
height: 30 cms; width: 20.9 cms
Credit Line :
Bequest of Louisa Dudgeon
Religion, Woodcut, Durer

After the Angel Gabriel had announced to Mary that she would become the mother of the Lord Jesus, she visited her kinswoman Elizabeth in Judea. This visit is recorded in Luke1:39-56. Dürer’s vision of the encounter shows a visibly pregnant Mary embracing Elizabeth, soon to be the mother of John the Baptist. In the background a mountainous landscape incorporates a hillside town, glittering as if bathed in full sunlight, an effect created by altering the intensity and thickness of line. 

Dürer executed The Life of the Virgin over several years, but initially seems not to have conceived of it as a group. It was probably only after creating a few of the images that he thought of publishing the whole series, comprising 19 plates with the title frontispiece.

The series places the Virgin in settings both earthly and divine, revealing her holy status marked by God, as well as her human qualities and frailties. All the images demonstrate superb cutting and mastery of line and are set within Dürer’s distinctly northern landscape.

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