Albrecht Dürer, The Sea Monster, 1498

Artist: Albrecht Dürer (1471 - 1528)
Title:The Sea Monster, 1498
Reference:B.71; Str.23; M.66
Medium:Original Engraving
Image Size:9 1/2 in x 7 1/3 in (24.1 cm x 18.5 cm)
Sheet Size:9 3/4 in x 7 3/8 in (24.8 cm x 18.7 cm)
Framed Size:22 1/8 in x 20 7/8 in (56.2 cm x 53 cm)
Signature:The signature monogram of Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528) is engraved in the lower center, ‘AD’
Condition:This work is in good condition, a bold impression
ID #w-2349

Historical Description

This mysterious and mythical work sets the Albrecht Dürer The Sea Monster apart from many other engravings by Dürer of this period.

It is full of action and movement: in the foreground, we see our Sea Monster, a type of merman who wields a shield and torch made of a tortoise shell in his left hand; his right arm grips that of our fair maiden who has apparently been taken captive, much to the dismay of her suitor who is up in arms at the shoreline, clearly upset.  Looming overhead in the background is the majestic township and countryside which extends in the distance.  It is as if this scene has been taken from a fairytale just at its climax – the billowing and rippling waves created by the Monster and his new maiden are a snapshot of the rapidity and intensity of this escape.  The detail and shading throughout is extraordinary; from the branches of the tress in the background to the detail of each scale on the Sea Monster’s fin, this work is a testament to Dürer’s incredible vision and astounding talents as an Old Master Engraver.

Created in 1498, this work features the engraved signature monogram of Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528) in the lower center, ‘AD’. According to Meder, this work is a State d impression with a small, indistinct watermark within the sheet (possibly the Small Jug, M.158; Br.12494) dating the work to c. 1525; backed on Japon paper.

Catalogue Raisonné & COA:

Albrecht Dürer The Sea Monster is fully documented and referenced in the below catalogue raisonnés and texts (copies will be enclosed as added documentation with the invoices that will accompany the final sale of the work):
1.    Bartsch, A. (1920). Le peintre graveur – Tome VII. Verlagsdruckerei Würzburg G.m.b.H: Würzburg. Listed as catalogue raisonné no. 71 on pg. 41.
2.    The Intaglio Prints of Albrecht Dürer – Engravings, Etchings & Drypoints (1981). Strauss, W. L. (ed.). Abaris Books: NY. Listed and illustrated as catalogue raisonné no. 23 on pgs. 74-6.  Small Jug watermark listed and illustrated as M. 158, Br. 12494 on pg. 337.
3.    Meder, J. (1932). Dürer-Katalog. Verlag Gilhofer & Ranschburg: Wien. Listed as catalogue raisonné no. 66.

About the Framing:

Albrecht Dürer The Sea Monster is displayed in a dark wood frame with gold leaf detailing around the inner and outer edges of the molding.  The work is presented with recessed white silk mattes and a delicate inner gold fillet which accentuates the tonal qualities of the paper. Featuring the artist’s plaque along the lower border of the moulding, the work is set in white, linen-wrapped mats with a matching inner fillet; set behind an archival Plexiglas® cover.