Landscape with the Cannon

Albrecht Dürer

(1471 - Nuremberg - 1528)
Etching on laid paper 21.6 x 31.8 cm (8.5 x 12.5 in.) 1518

References: Bartsch 99; Meder 96 a (of b), before the rust; Schoch, Mende, and Scherbaum 85.

Watermark: Small high crown, Briquet 4960, Meder 31 (the watermark that Meder describes for the print as Meder a before the rust)

Impression: Very fine

Condition: Excellent, trimmed to and just within the platemark

Landscape with a Large Cannon is the last and most ambitious of only six etchings in Dürer’s oeuvre. This impression is an exceedingly rare example before rust. Prior to the introduction of copper plates in Germany, etchings (the first produced very possibly in the 1490’s) were printed from iron plates, which quickly rusted, forming intrusive gray and black spots. This is the most important and best known early German etching.

The group of five figures at the right were inspired by Turkish costume studies by Gentile Bellini, whom Dürer had met in Venice. The cannon, manned by two Landsknechts (German mercenaries), faces the Turks. The action in the foreground most likely refers to the growing tension between the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire. The village has been identified as Kirchehrenbach in Franconia. The cannon was already outdated as weaponry by the time of this etching.

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"Works of art on paper dating from the 15th century to classic 20th century"

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