Death and wife (c.1510) by Albrecht Durer

Death and wife - Albrecht Durer - c.1510

Artwork Information

TitleDeath and wife
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationMuseum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands

About Death and wife

The artwork “Death and the Woman” by Albrecht Dürer, created around 1510, is an allegorical painting from the Northern Renaissance period. It is part of the collection at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Netherlands. This piece of art captures the enigmatic interaction between a skeletal figure representing death and a modestly dressed woman.

In the drawing, Death is personified as a skeletal figure standing to the left, holding an hourglass, which symbolizes the passing of time and the inevitability of death. Death’s exposed bones and the ragged drapery that hangs from its skeletal frame convey a sense of decay and the transient nature of life. In the hourglass, the sands of time are nearly depleted, hinting at the imminent demise of the woman or the expiration of her time.

Facing Death, the woman appears composed and resigned, wearing traditional garb that suggests humility and possibly piety. The detailed folds in her clothing contrast with the starkness of Death’s bony form. Both figures are set within an arched frame of foliage that arches overhead, enclosing the scene in a space that feels both intimate and otherworldly. The backdrop shows a hint of a rural landscape, providing a serene and common setting for such a profound confrontation.

Albrecht Dürer’s masterful pen strokes capture the fine details of texture, form, and expression, making the artwork not only a reflection on mortality but also a testament to the artist’s skill in capturing complex themes in a compelling visual narrative.

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