The holy family with the dragon fly (c.1495) by Albrecht Durer

The holy family with the dragon fly - Albrecht Durer - c.1495

Artwork Information

TitleThe holy family with the dragon fly
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance

About The holy family with the dragon fly

“The Holy Family with the Dragonfly” is an engraving by the artist Albrecht Dürer, created around 1495. It demonstrates the intricate detail and skill of Dürer during the Northern Renaissance and is categorized under the religious painting genre. The medium of engraving was used to produce this piece.

The engraving itself portrays the Virgin Mary seated and prominently placed in the foreground, cradling the Christ Child, who reaches out towards her. To the left, an aged figure assumes to be Saint Joseph, leans against a barrel or wooden structure, absorbed in contemplative or possibly weary repose. The setting is pastoral with a landscape stretching into the distance, characterized by rural structures and lush foliage. Above the central figures, a segment of the scene exhibited a heavenly gathering, possibly to symbolize divine presence or blessing upon the scene below. The namesake element of the composition, a dragonfly, can be spotted near the bottom of the work, giving the piece its distinctive title.

Small details that reveal Dürer’s Northern Renaissance influence include the careful rendering of textures, from the softness of the fabrics to the natural elements of the landscape. The work is imbued with a sense of quiet sanctity and reflects the humanistic approach to sacred subjects that was increasingly popular during Dürer’s time.

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