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

The Nativity

Pen, 313 x 217 mm
Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna

This is a composition of rare ardor. The warmth of the feeling is guaranteed by the date 1514: the year of the Melancholy and the St Jerome. It is possible that this drawing was conceived as a woodcut; then it would have become a worthy counterpart to those copperplate engravings. In comparison with the 1511 woodcut The Adoration of the Wise Men, we already find here a characteristic simplification of the architecture and a tighter relationship between the figures and the architectural accompaniment. There are simple walls in the background and a calm closed plank ceiling; the effect is one of large-scale tone contrasts.