Studies on a great “picture of Mary” girl’s head and pair of hands by Albrecht Durer

Studies on a great

Artwork Information

TitleStudies on a great "picture of Mary" girl's head and pair of hands
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance

About Studies on a great "picture of Mary" girl's head and pair of hands

“Studies on a great ‘picture of Mary’ girl’s head and pair of hands” is a sketch and study by Albrecht Dürer, a seminal figure of the Northern Renaissance. Created as part of a series for a “Picture of Mary,” this artwork reflects Dürer’s meticulous approach to capturing human anatomy and emotion. The piece dates back to 1522 and showcases the artist’s dedication to understanding his subjects in depth before committing them to his more famous and large-scale paintings.

The artwork itself consists of a detailed side profile of a young woman’s head along with a separately sketched pair of hands. It is monochromatic, using what appears to be charcoal or pencil, enabling a focus on form and shadow without the distraction of color. Dürer’s careful shading and delicate line work reveal a gentle and lifelike representation of the features, indicating a masterful understanding of human anatomy. The juxtaposition of the head and hands suggests that they are meant to be part of a single composition, offering a sense of harmony and balance that is characteristic of Dürer’s work. The woman’s facial features are serene and calm while the hands are depicted in a relaxed pose with fingers gently resting over one another. This study may have served as a preparatory work for a depiction of the Virgin Mary, as artists of the time often created detailed studies to perfect elements of larger, more complex compositions. The artwork captures the essence of the Northern Renaissance through its emphasis on realism, attention to detail, and the blend of artistic skill with scientific observation.

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