Rhinoceros (1515) by Albrecht Durer

Rhinoceros - Albrecht Durer - 1515

Artwork Information

TitleRhinoceros
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Date1515
Mediumwoodcut
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationBritish Museum, London, UK
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About Rhinoceros

Albrecht Dürer’s “Rhinoceros” is an iconic woodcut from 1515, executed during the Northern Renaissance. Dürer, a German artist, had a profound impact on the art of this period with his detailed prints, drawings, and theoretical writings. This woodcut is one of his most famous pieces and showcases his capacity to create highly detailed and textured works of art.

The woodcut features a rhinoceros, which Dürer depicted based on written descriptions and a sketch by an unknown artist, as he had never seen the animal himself. The result is a somewhat fanciful rendition, as it includes rivet-like armor and a small, twisted horn on its back, which are not anatomically accurate. Despite these embellishments, Dürer’s “Rhinoceros” became a popular and influential image in Europe, shaping the continent’s perception of the animal. The intricate details and the text above and below the rhinoceros serve as both an illustration and a document of its time, reflecting the European fascination with exotic animals and the burgeoning spirit of inquiry that was a hallmark of the Renaissance.

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