Apr 28, 2022 - Sale 2602

Sale 2602 - Lot 21

Price Realized: $ 3,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 5,000
The Penitent.

Woodcut, 1510. 195x132 mm; 7 3/4x5 1/2 inches, small margins. A superb, dark Meder c-d impression with the several small breaks in the border line but with little to no wear in the subject, with strong contrasts and with the relief from the wood block distinct on the verso.

A scarce woodcut; we have found fewer than 15 other impressions at auction in the past 30 years.

According to the Minneapolis Institute of Art, which has another impression of this subject, "Though the image obviously shows a repentant man flagellating himself, more specific identification remains elusive. The image is sometimes described as a self-portrait; indeed, the man's features are not unlike the artist's, and Dürer did have a penchant for self-portraiture, both explicit and disguised. The ark on the altar has prompted another plausible suggestion--that the figure is David, the Old Testament king who repented and whose penitential prayer is Psalm 51. If so, Dürer appears to have followed the spirit rather than the letter of the second book of Samuel 11-12, which records the story of the king's repentance after his sinful treatment of Bathsheba, and her husband Uriah. The account makes no mention of self-flagellation. Still, the lack of Christian symbols couple with a temple-like setting suggest an Old Testament subject." Bartsch 119; Meder 108.