Portrait of Philip Melanchthon. Albrecht Dürer.
Dürer's Melanchthon Portrait

Portrait of Philip Melanchthon.

Original engraving, 1526. Very clear, strong contrasts, Meder C impression, with the stray burin strokes to the left of the head and the scratch on the forehead. Wide-margined. Plate size: 127 × 173 mm; sheet size: 182 × 250 mm. Numbered by old hand in ink at upper right corner, monogrammed and dated (1602) on verso probably by different hand. Very light foxing mostly at edges, a brown spot beneath the tablet with inscription. In passe-partout. In fine condition.

Albrecht Dürer’s famous, 1526 portrait of Philip Melanchthon, the humanist scholar, religious reformer, theologian and educator.

Head and shoulder portrait of Philip Melanchthon (1497–1560), facing right, with the background of sky with clouds, underneath a tablet with date, Dürer’s monogram and the Latin inscription “VIVENTIS POTVIT DVRERIVS ORA PHILIPPI MENTEM NON POTVIT PINGERE DOCTA MANVS” (Dürer was able to depict the features of the living Philip, but the skilled hand could not portray his mind.). This image was the last of the series of five portraits with the use of an inscribed tablet, and one of the last of Dürer’s portrait prints to be made.

In 1525 Melanchthon worked in Nuremberg to establish a new, secular school on behalf of the City Council. While in the city he stayed at Willibald Pirckheimer’s home, who was the closest friend of Dürer and the two undoubtedly met either through the host or through other members of the city’s humanist circle. A portrait drawing of Melanchthon was probably made at this time and formed the basis of this engraving that was created in 1526.

A very well preserved, wide-margined copy.

Meder 104; Bartsch 104; Dodgson 102

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Price: €15,000.00

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