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

Apollo with the Solar Disc

c. 1504
Pen, 285 x 202 mm
British Museum, London

The full title: Apollo with the Solar Disc and Diana Trying to Shield Herself from the Rays with Her Uplifted Hand.

This variation on the Adam of the 1504 copperplate engraving was also conceived originally as a print, but was not engraved. The Adam of the print is more felicitous because of the contrast supplied by the turning of his head away from his extended free leg. The present drawing is finished to a great extent but not yet fully refined. The celestial background, rich in painterly effect, was added at a later stage. The original purpose was the depiction of the male figure alone, who represented the planetary god Sol. The rendering of the sun's rays is extremely noteworthy. The word "Apolo," written backwards with a view toward the engraving, is probably a substitute for the earlier name Sol; this would explain the conspicuous incongruity of the inscription and the space allotted to it.