Albrecht Dürer ( German, 1471 - 1528 )
While kneeling at her bed in prayer, Mary is interrupted by the presence of the Angel Gabriel, who announces she is to bear the Son of God. In the upper left corner of the print, God sends down a dove, the embodiment of the Holy Spirit, and raises his hand in a sign of blessing, which is mirrored by Gabriel’s gesture. In the opposite corner is a budding white lily, the traditional symbol for Mary’s purity, which reflects her status as Virgin Mother.
Comparatively, woodcuts tend to look blockier when next to engravings, as it is difficult to represent thin and curving lines in a cut woodblock. This is evident here in the way Albrecht Dürer represented the folds of Mary’s and Gabriel’s garments with straight lines that meet at angles to suggest curves.
Laura Sevelis, DMA label copy, 2015.
- Inside Albrecht Dürer's Studio-Woodcut
Watch this demonstration and explanation of the woodcut process created by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute for the exhibition, The Strange World of Albrecht Dürer (November 14, 2010- March 13, 2011).