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Daniel Good Rare Books and Engravings

1502 Albrecht Durer attributed, The Prilgrim with his Dog, folio woodcut

1502 Albrecht Durer attributed, The Prilgrim with his Dog, folio woodcut

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Attributed to be the work of Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471–1528)

“Johannes Gerson als Pilger”

Pilgrim walking to the right, with walking staff and dog at his feet, coat of arms bearing stars, moon, sun and winged heart with 'T'; angel at right, leading the way; landscape in background with forest and building on cliff at upper right.

26.3 x 18.8 cm

Folio woodcut used to verso of the fourth part of the works of Johannes Gerson published in 1502.

References: Hollstein (Dürer Buchillustration) 20; Schoch/Mende/Scherbaum A 36; Strauss 1980, 29; Hollstein, VI; Gierecke 1935, pp. 4-29.

Provenance: Augustinian Monestary of Erfurt (dated 1550) and home of Martin Luther who lived here as a friar from 1505 to 1511. Owned by “Fr. Alexander Rup”. The site became the property of Erfurt city council after the last friar died in 1556.  

Folio woodcut of the author as a pilgrim used on the verso of the title to the three-volume Strasbourg Gerson edition of 1494, published in 1502. Impeccable print with wide margins.  - A few minor worm holes, three with old backing.

First used 1502, this image echoes and elaborates an earlier image of Gerson as pilgrim with dog, used as frontispiece to the 1489 collected edition of Gerson's works, and likely Durer's earliest known woodcut, produced while he was an apprentice in Michael Wolgemut's workshop. The image likely derives from Gerson's 1417 letter to his brother Jean the Celestine (2.199), where he described the shield he had designed to 'express the meaning of his life', and 'characterized himself as a pilgrim on earth, with no abiding home' (McGuire, 2006, p. 26). In 1943 Pankofsky voiced some doubt as to the attribution, suggesting a Strasbourg imitator.

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