The Great Triumphal Car (1518 – 1519) by Albrecht Durer

The Great Triumphal Car - Albrecht Durer - 1518 - 1519

Artwork Information

TitleThe Great Triumphal Car
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Date1518 - 1519
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationBritish Museum, London, UK

About The Great Triumphal Car

“The Great Triumphal Car” is a woodcut created by Albrecht Dürer between 1518 and 1519, falling within the Northern Renaissance period. The artwork is categorized as a miniature genre and is part of the collection at the British Museum in London, UK.

In the woodcut, we see an intricately detailed scene containing a large, ornate carriage that draws influence from classical antiquity and carries an assortment of figures. The carriage is ornate and heavily decorated, featuring numerous allegorical figures representing different virtues and concepts such as justice, temperance, and bravery. These figures are labeled with their respective names, such as “Iusticia” (Justice), “Temperantia” (Temperance), and “Victoria” (Victory), highlighting the moral and philosophical ideas valued at the time.

Above the central figure of the carriage, a large cloud formation contains a face depicting what appears to be a personification of a heavenly body or a divine presence. To the side, drawn by a team of majestic looking horses, the carriage wheels are adorned with emblems and the word “Magnificentia” (Magnificence), further emphasizing the theme of grandeur.

The virtuous figures around the carriage display strength and grace, contributing to the triumphal theme. Each component of the image, from the expressions of the characters to the finely detailed ornamentation of the carriage and creatures pulling it, works together to create a rich visual narrative that offers insight into the values and aesthetics of the Northern Renaissance era.

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