The Angel with the Key to the Bottomless Pit (1497 – 1498) by Albrecht Durer

The Angel with the Key to the Bottomless Pit - Albrecht Durer - 1497 - 1498

Artwork Information

TitleThe Angel with the Key to the Bottomless Pit
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Date1497 - 1498
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationStaatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany

About The Angel with the Key to the Bottomless Pit

“The Angel with the Key to the Bottomless Pit” is a religious painting by Albrecht Durer, created between 1497 and 1498. Durer, a prominent figure of the Northern Renaissance, included this piece in his “Apocalypse” series. It is currently housed at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe in Karlsruhe, Germany.

The artwork is a highly detailed woodcut print, a medium Durer excelled in. It depicts a dramatic scene with a central angelic figure holding a key, presumably to the bottomless pit as identified by the title. To the right, there is another angelic figure conversing with the central character. The background is filled with intricate details, including a landscape with a city and various natural elements like trees and mountains. Above the city, birds dot the sky, adding to the sense of a bustling and vibrant atmosphere. The lower portion of the artwork is more foreboding, featuring monstrous creatures that seem to emerge from the depths, contributing to the religious and apocalyptic theme of the work. Albrecht Durer’s signature monogram is also visible in the artwork, which features his well-known “AD” insignia. The scene likely illustrates a narrative from the Book of Revelation, consistent with the series’ theme exploring apocalyptic visions.

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