The Promenade

MAKER:
Artist

Albrecht Dürer ( German, 1471 - 1528 )

DATE:
c. 1496–1497
more object details

General Description

An elegantly dressed couple enjoys a leisurely stroll through the countryside; their elaborate dress marks their social position and wealth. The gallant young man gazes at his companion adoringly as he points ahead to the path. The prominent ostrich feather stuck in his hat indicates his bachelor status, while the lady’s bouffant bonnet signifies she is married. Combined with the man’s familiar hand at the small of her back and the phallic placement of his sword, Albrecht Dürer implies an affair between the two.

This work is intended as a moralizing memento mori, a reminder that life is fleeting and material goods and worldly pleasures are unfulfilling, particularly in comparison to the spiritual rewards of immortality in the afterlife. This message is evident through the skeletal, demonic embodiment of death, which lurks behind a tree holding an hourglass, further symbolizing the transience of life.

Excerpt from

Laura Sevelis, DMA label copy (1961.98) for Saints and Monsters: Prints by Albrecht Dürer, March 2015

Fun Facts

  • The donor of this print, Calvin J. Holmes, gave it to the Museum in 1961 in honor of Edward G. Eisenlohr, who died the same year. Eisenlohr was a significant figure in the history of art in North Texas and a critical supporter of the Museum's creation and growth. He is represented in the collection by more than a dozen works, as is Albrecht Dürer.

  • A 1971 catalog, Dürer in America: His Graphic Work (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), notes the similarities between the standing young man in this print and the artist's early self-portraits.

Web Resources

  • Inside Albrecht Dürer's Studio- Engraving
    Watch this demonstration and explanation of the engraving 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).