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Image of Coat of Arms with Skull

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Albrecht Dürer
German (1471 - 1528) Primary

Coat of Arms with Skull

1503, printed in the artist's lifetime
Engraving on laid paper
State: Printed in the artist's lifetime

8 9/16 in. x 6 1/8 in. (21.75 cm x 15.56 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 1998.1.1
Geography: Europe, Germany
Classification: Fine and Visual Arts; Prints; Engravings
Culture/Nationality: German
Description: Albrecht Dürer is widely regarded as one of the most influential and revolutionary printmakers of all time. This print shows Dürer at his finest, exercising the engraver's needle with great agility.

In this print, an ornately dressed woman is accosted by a bearded man whose staff supports a shield decorated with a skull. The subject matter remains a mystery to scholars, who have alternately explained it as an allusion to the War of the Bavarian Succession in 1503, an example of the "wild man" motif, and a memento mori.

From the pleats of the woman's costume to the frothy curls atop the man's head, each precise line is exquisitely realized, revealing the studied form and naturalistic detail of the Italian masters whom Dürer admired.

On View: Bryn Mawr College, Rhys Carpenter Library, Level A

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:
  • engravings - Prints on paper incorporating impressions of a reverse design created on a printing plate, usually copper, into which the design has been incised (engraved) using burins or gravers. Historically, "engravings" has sometimes been incorrectly used to refer to all prints, regardless of the specific technique. For prints made from designs engraved on a flat wooden block, use "wood cuts"; for prints made from a plate that is etched rather than engraved, use "etchings."
  • German - Refers to the cultures, periods, and styles of the modern nation of Germany, or the cultures that have occupied the area of the modern nation in central Europe. More broadly, it can refer to the cultures of the ancient groups of related peoples who inhabited central and northern Europe, and who spoke dialects from which the Germanic or Teutonic languages developed.
  • skulls - Bony framework of the head, enclosing the brain and supporting the face.
  • weapons - Implements or mechanisms used for defense or attack in combat, hunting, or war.
  • wings - Accessories that project outward from the shoulder of a garment and are made of cloth or metal. In a military context, may be attached to a shoulder strap and may indicate rank or unit.

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version
Additional Image 1998.1.1_BMC_f_4.jpg

Exhibition List
This object was included in the following exhibitions:
  • Worlds to Discover: 125 Years of Collections at Bryn Mawr College Bryn Mawr College , Sep 24, 2010 – May 28, 2011

Bibliography List
The following Bibliography exist for this object:
  • Marianne Hansen and Emily Croll. Worlds to Discover. Bryn Mawr College. Bryn Mawr, PA, 2010
    Page Number: 21

Related Children(s) Click a record to view

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<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Coat of Arms with Skull |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=6/1/2023 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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