DÜRER, Albrecht
(b. 1471, Nürnberg, d. 1528, Nürnberg)

The Prodigal Son among the Swine

1497-98
Pen, 217 x 219 mm
British Museum, London

The sheet, which is cut at top and bottom, is a preliminary drawing for the (also undated) copperplate engraving, which may be assigned to 1497-98. In the engraving the houses were brought lower, the figures were brought closer together, and the best pig (the one with its feet in the trough) was omitted. The praying swineherd, whose bodily articulation is not easily discernible even in the drawing (the springing of the left leg!) became more unclear in the engraving. Such cases are important for the proper evaluation of the more mature master's efforts for complete clarity of representation.




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