Madonna With The Monkey (1498) by Albrecht Durer

Madonna With The Monkey - Albrecht Durer - 1498

Artwork Information

TitleMadonna With The Monkey
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Madonna With The Monkey

“Madonna with the Monkey” is an engraving created by Albrecht Dürer in 1498, during the Northern Renaissance. As a religious painting, it falls under the genre of devotional art and currently belongs to a private collection. This artwork reflects the typical attention to detail and interest in nature characteristic of the Northern Renaissance.

The engraving showcases the Virgin Mary seated in a serene landscape, holding the Christ Child on her lap. The Madonna is depicted with grace and elegance, her gaze tenderly cast down upon the infant Jesus. She is adorned with a modest halo, suggesting her sanctity and role as the mother of Christ. The baby Jesus is portrayed as an active child reaching out to grasp something, adding a lively and realistic touch to the scene.

Importantly, to the left of the composition, a small monkey is tethered to the ground by a leash. During Dürer’s time, the monkey could symbolize sin, folly, or the base animal nature of humans, thus presenting a contrast to the purity and piety embodied by the Virgin and Christ. The inclusion of this figure might be an allegory for the need to bind or control our baser instincts.

Carefully etched into this scene are the textures and elements hallmarking Dürer’s work—crisp lines defining folds in the garments, intricate details in vegetation, and meticulous rendering of the landscape. A domestic building can also be seen in the background, adding a sense of place and anchoring the divine subjects within a world that viewers would recognize as akin to their own.

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