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

St Bartholomew

Engraving, 122 x 76 mm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The knife in the hand of the saint is the instrument of his martyrdom. The engravings of the Apostles of this last period are quite subdued and unemotional. The stance requires the viewer to look at the head of the saint and to seek out what characterizes his greatness. The absence of a halo, which distinguishes this plate and St Simon from the earlier members of the set of Apostles, can be pointed out. St Bartholomew is more down-to-earth than the lofty type of 1514. These men are more modest, like artisans; their bodies disappear beneath the draperies. They fill the picture area from top to bottom and have a metallic quality, almost like bronze statues. The preparatory drawing is, in this case, much larger than the print.