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

St Eustace

c. 1501
Engraving, 355 x 259 mm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge

The print is often erroneously called "St Hubert."

This is Dürer's largest single-leaf copper engraving. He frequently sold impressions of it or gave them away as presents during his journey to the Netherlands.

The legend of St Eustace is narrated in the Legenda aurea and is freely adapted in Dürer's picture. The Roman officer Placidus was converted to Christianity by a vision of a stag who spoke with the voice of Christ and carried a crucifix in its antlers, and he then took the name of Eustace. Here, the scene is taking place in the middle of a forest landscape, next to a pond. The statue-like depiction of the horse and the greyhounds, which are shown in five different body positions, shows that Dürer was more interested in reproducing proportions than in creating a precisely detailed account of the Christian legend.

Dürer carefully avoided any overlapping of the animals. In this end and other details this print is closely related to Pisanello's painting of the same subject (National Gallery, London).

The unusually large size of the plate appears to have caused some difficulty in printing. Even some of the best impressions have some squeezed lines near the edges. There are impressions on satin, all posthumous, at Coburg, Boston, Vienna, Gotha and Frankfurt.