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

Madonna with the Swaddled Infant

Engraving, 144 x 97 mm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This late depiction of the Madonna and Child is almost genre-like. Only the halo indicates the holy nature of the group of figures. A human attitude is expressed in the loving way the mother is turning to her child, and this was intended to give the observer an emotional understanding of the Christian doctrine of salvation by encouraging "compassio," sympathy with the sufferings of Christ.

Dürer recorded in his diary of the trip to the Low Countries that he gave away this print together with the Madonna Crowned by an Angel on four occasions (August 20, September 3, and late September 1520). Opinions of commentators vary greatly concerning this engraving.

It could be noted that particularly great care was taken in the rendering of the hands of the Virgin and the head of Christ. The engraving is based or related to preliminary drawings.