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

The Virgin with the Dragonfly

c. 1495
Engraving, 240 x 186 mm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

The first of Dürer's engravings bearing a monogram and the only one with this archaic version of it. The dragonfly has been variously identified as a grasshopper, a praying mantis and a butterfly. The composition is still primitive, although the severely foreshortened head of St Joseph - asleep and old to stress the notion of Mary's virginity - is in marked contrast to earlier still extant drawings by Dürer of this subject.

The sheet is a direct successor to Martin Schongauer's work.