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

Nuremberg Woman Dressed for Church

Pen and ink and watercolour on paper, 325 x 218 mm
Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna

Dürer, who seems to have dressed well himself, was always interested in depicting clothing and he produced some of the earliest known costume studies in European art. This is one of a set of four costume studies of Nuremberg women, two of them in dancing dresses and one in everyday attire. The artist's wife Agnes; then in her mid-twenties, was probably the model.

The watercolour is inscribed: `This is how people dress for church in Nuremberg' along with the text `Think of me in Thy Realm'. Dressed in her best clothes for church, the demure young woman wears a red cloak with a green lining and beneath this is a blue-green dress fringed with white fur. She has a starched linen headdress. Her eyes look down at the ground, in a contemplative pose. Four years later Dürer used this study in his woodcut of the Marriage of the Virgin. The Nuremberg woman appears at the right of the print, in reverse, as one of the seven virgins who were Mary's companions.