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

The Great Triumphal Car

British Museum, London

Originally meant to be part of the Triumphal Procession and no doubt planned in 1512 at the same time as this and the Triumphal Arch. Earlier designs (Albertina, Vienna) about 1514-15 show riders on the horses and the imperial family beside Maximilian. A second study, without family and riders (Albertina, Vienna) was then chosen. The literary designs were produced by Dürer's friend Willibald Pirckheimer. The work was carried out in the year 1518 and somewhat later. It appeared after the death of the Emperor, in 1522. At the end is the text: "Diser wagen ist zu Nürnberg erfunde und gedruckt durch Albrechten Thürer, im jar M.D.XXII. Cum Gratia et Privilegio Caesaree Maiestatis". This proves that the Emperor was not the owner of the blocks and that Dürer published them on his own initiative.

The whole Triumphal Car consists of eight blocks, of which six have German text printed in columns above the horses, giving a short history of the car as well as explanations of the twenty-two virtues.

The picture shows the first sheet: Back part of the imperial car. Victory is decorating the Emperor with a laurel wreath. On the feathers of her wings his victories are written. Behind him stand two of the cardinal virtues: Justice and Temperance.