Dürer, drawing, and allegory

Joost Keizer*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    The marginal drawings by Albrecht Durer and the other artists illuminate one of the ten copies of the prayer book printed under the auspices of Johann Schonsperger, Maximilian's official court printer since 1507. In Durer's time, allegory was usually associated with fiction, not with the kind of literal, descriptive images that were gaining in popularity in Durer's time. By the time Durer was drawing his marginalia, the tradition of decorating the margins of sacred books had disappeared, at least in the form that Durer evokes. Like the printed letters that imitate written script, Durer's drawings insist on the particular features of the drawn line confronted with the printed one. Marginal illustrations in printed form were rare, particularly in books of hours. The printed illustrations would have looked like drawings. Durer cultivated the illusion that images arose, or sometimes barely arose, from lines rather than from a preconceived idea.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Aura of the Word in the Early Age of Print (1450-1600)
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherTaylor and Francis Ltd
    Number of pages21
    ISBN (Electronic)9781315087108
    ISBN (Print)9781472434685
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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