Dresden Altarpiece (side wings – St. Anthony, St. Sebastian) (1496) by Albrecht Durer

Dresden Altarpiece (side wings - St. Anthony, St. Sebastian) - Albrecht Durer - 1496

Artwork Information

TitleDresden Altarpiece (side wings - St. Anthony, St. Sebastian)
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationGemaldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Germany

About Dresden Altarpiece (side wings - St. Anthony, St. Sebastian)

The “Dresden Altarpiece (side wings – St. Anthony, St. Sebastian)” is an artwork created by Albrecht Durer in 1496. This religious painting, which is part of the Northern Renaissance movement, was executed using tempera on canvas. Currently, it is housed in the Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden, Germany.

The altarpiece comprises two panels depicting saints. On the left panel, St. Anthony is portrayed with a thoughtful expression, standing with a book in one hand, emphasizing his scholarly attributes and possibly his temptations, which he is known to have resisted. His other hand rests on what appears to be a closed book, and he is cloaked in a rich, green garment, symbolizing his role as a hermit. The background of this panel is filled with a chaotic array of angels and other figures, which may represent the inner spiritual battle St. Anthony faced.

On the right panel, St. Sebastian is shown as a youthful figure, with arrow wounds on his body, a reference to his martyrdom where he was shot with arrows. His gaze is serene and directed upwards, possibly indicating his faith and acceptance of his suffering. Behind him is a host of childlike angels in the clouds, which contrasts with the more disturbing elements in St. Anthony’s backdrop.

Both panels are rich in detail and symbolism, showcasing Durer’s skill in conveying texture, form, and character in his subjects. The contrast between the tranquility of St. Sebastian’s expression and the chaotic scene behind St. Anthony highlights the diverse ways faith and virtue were depicted and celebrated during the Northern Renaissance.

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