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

St George on Horseback

1505 (completed 1508)
Engraving, 110 x 86 mm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The last work before Dürer's sudden departure on a second trip to Venice in order to escape the Great Plague. This engraving was probably almost complete because the date 1505 had already been engraved in the plate. It was subsequently corrected to read 1508. The background is deliberately reduced in scale for sake of contrast and any indication of a landscape is omitted. Dürer in this engraving sought to combine the monumentality of The Large Horse with the elegance of The Small Horse. Pictured from behind, this unusual stance effectively conveys a feeling of pause before the saintly warrior forges ahead to further defend the Faith. It was also used in the Ober St. Veit Altarpiece, which was completed in Dürer's workshop during his absence in Italy.