About this artwork

Dürer’s modelling of the figures, and the exquisite rendering of textures demonstrate his exceptional skill as an engraver. The intricate care with which he has prepared this engraving can be seen in the surviving preparatory drawings and early trial impressions. Dürer was exceptionally proud of the print, which is the only printed work in which the artist included his full name, origin and the date of the engraving: “ALBERT DVRER NORICVS FACIEBAT” (Albrecht Dürer of Nuremberg made [this]). Dürer was fascinated by the idea of the perfectly proportioned human form. Here, Adam and Eve represent ideal specimens of their sex; Dürer has arranged them in nearly symmetrical poses, based on classical representations of Apollo and Venus. The animals refer symbolically to the Four Temperaments or Humours and their moral connotations: the melancholic elk, the optimistic rabbit, the irritable cat, and the calm ox.

Updated before 2020

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Albrecht Dürer

Albrecht Dürer

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