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Original engraving printed in black ink on laid paper
Signed in the plate with the artist’s monogram lower center.
A clear and sharp 16th century Meder “e” (of “k”) impression of the first state of two, with excellent contrasts throughout, printed prior to the appearance of the two long vertical lines in the triangular fold of the girl’s drapery and the long diagonal line towards her headdress.
Catalog: Strauss 20; Bartsch 94; Dodgson 9; Meder 83 i.e/ii; Panofsky 201; Hollstein 83; Schoch/Mende/Scherbaum 19.
7 5/8 x 4 ¾ inches
Sheet Size: 8 5/8 x 5 ¾ inches
In excellent condition, with ½ inch margins outside the platemark on all four sides.
Literature regarding this artwork: Erwin Panofsky, The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1943, p. 69, no. 99 (ill.); Larry Silver/Jeffrey Chips Smith, The Essential Dürer, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2010, figure 9.3, p. 158 (ill.).
The figure of Death does not necessarily indicate a warning to lovers, as this was not customary in the 15th century. Death was, however, frequently pictured as a reminder that life on earth should not be solely devoted to pleasure and luxury. The tall grass-like plant in the foreground may be allegorical, related to the quotation from Isaiah in the Basel Dance of Death that “all flesh is like hay and grass; grass dries up and flowers wilt.”