Battle between knights and mercenary (1512) by Albrecht Altdorfer

Battle between knights and mercenary - Albrecht Altdorfer - 1512

Artwork Information

TitleBattle between knights and mercenary
ArtistAlbrecht Altdorfer
Dimensions21.8 x 15.6 cm
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationMuseum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands
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About Battle between knights and mercenary

The artwork “Battle between knights and mercenary” by Albrecht Altdorfer, dated to 1512, exemplifies the Northern Renaissance art movement. It is a battle painting measuring 21.8 x 15.6 cm and is housed at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The intricacy of the piece represents the period’s fascination with detail and the theme of militaristic confrontation.

The artwork presents a dynamic scene where heavily armored knights engage in combat with a mercenary. As typical of Altdorfer’s compositions, the figures are intertwined with a remarkable sense of movement and drama, capturing the chaos and brutality of medieval warfare. The detailed rendering of the armor and the vigorous action suggest a deep understanding of both the human form and the material culture of the time. The background provides a glimpse of a landscape, with foliage and distant architecture, lending the scene a sense of place and situating the confrontation within a broader context. The pen-and-ink technique used here showcases Altdorfer’s skill in creating tonal variations and textures, which add a palpable intensity to the depicted encounter.

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