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Record Image
Dürer, Albrecht (German, b.1471, d.1528), Artist
The Assumption of the Virgin
290 x 205 mm
Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Given 1982 by Mary, Dora and Esmond de Beer through the National Art Collections Fund, London.
This, the penultimate print in Albrecht Dürer’s Life of the Virgin series, follows the Death of the Virgin. According to legend, the Virgin Mary did not die in the conventional sense but was assumed body and soul into heaven. In the Death of the Virgin we see her on her deathbed surrounded by the Apostles. In the Assumption, she is depicted as having been resurrected from a tomb. The Apostles look up in reverence and wonder at the sight of Mary being crowned Queen of Heaven by God the Father, Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Dürer worked on the 20 woodcuts that comprise the series between 1503 and 1511, when the set was published in book form with Latin text by Benedictus Chelidonius. Individual prints without text were also printed and sold before the publication of the complete series. We know this because a number were copied by the Italian engraver Marcantonio Raimondi, who was working in Venice at the time of Dürer’s visit there in 1506. Dürer’s large full-page woodcuts took German woodcut illustration to a new level of sophistication. It was through these prints that Dürer secured his international reputation as the greatest artist of the German Renaissance.

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