Studies on a great “picture of the Virgin” Madonna and Child, saints and angels playing by Albrecht Durer

Studies on a great

Artwork Information

TitleStudies on a great "picture of the Virgin" Madonna and Child, saints and angels playing
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance

About Studies on a great "picture of the Virgin" Madonna and Child, saints and angels playing

“Studies on a great ‘picture of the Virgin’ Madonna and Child, saints and angels playing” is a sketch and study by Albrecht Dürer, a master artist of the Northern Renaissance. It belongs to his “Picture of the Virgin” series and was crafted during a time when detailed preparatory studies were common among artists striving for perfection in their final works.

The artwork itself is a collection of sketched studies that depict different scenes and characters. In the center, we see a large, dominating figure that could be interpreted as the Virgin with a child, surrounded by various smaller figures, which likely represent saints and angels. These figures are sketched with varying degrees of completion, with some appearing more defined and others more gestural and incomplete.

Above the central figures, there’s an architectural element with the date “1521” prominently inscribed, suggesting the year when Dürer may have been working on this particular study. Around the central group, there are several other characters including angels playing musical instruments and what might be other saints or donors typically included in devotional images.

Each figure or group seems to be in its own compositional space, indicating that Dürer was experimenting with different arrangements, poses, and interactions as he worked towards an overarching design for his artwork. The study provides a fascinating insight into Dürer’s process and the methods by which Northern Renaissance artists planned their complex religious compositions.

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