Engraving, 1504. 251x193 mm; 9 7/8x7 5/8 inches. A brilliant, dark Meder III a impression with strong contrasts and little to no sign of wear, after the corrected date on the plaque, with the faint scratches on Eve's left thigh and Adam's right thigh distinct. Bull's head watermark (Meder 62, which he dates to the late 1400s). Trimmed on the plate mark, with thread margins outside the black border line.
The early 1500s was a period of dramatic growth in Dürer's (1471-1528) career and the fuller recognition of Italianate influence in his art. His workshop expanded with his increasing popularity, buoyed significantly by the wide-scale distribution of his engravings and woodcuts throughout Europe, with the addition of three young artists: Hans Baldung Grien (1484-1545), Hans van Kulmbach (circa 1485-1522) and Hans Schäufelein (circa 1482-1539/40, see lot 56). Dürer was preoccupied with a focus on the construction and proportion of the human figure at this time too, doubtlessly on account of his knowledge of Italian Renaissance art and recent travel to northern Italy, creating numerous drawings of standing female nudes and two of his most important engravings on the subject, The Nemesis, circa 1501-02 (Bartsch 77) and Adam and Eve.
Bartrum notes, "The five states of this engraving, an unusually high number for Dürer, together with the high number of preparatory drawings, document the particular care with which Dürer planned the design. It represents the culmination of his study of a system of human proportion seen in his slightly earlier drawings, and displays his virtuoso mastery of the engraving technique. Dürer's pride is displayed in the longest, most prominent inscription he ever made on an engraving: 'Albrecht Dürer of Nuremberg made this in 1504'." Bartsch 1; Meder 1.