Durer > Knight, Death and the Devil

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knight death the devil

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This is another image I have up in my studio, and it is part of a series of 3 large prints known as his Meisterstiche (master engravings). The print embodies the state of moral virtue. We see death with his hourglass reminding us of the brevity of life…and a devil with a pig snout, somewhat cross-eyed trying to distract. The knight seems unfazed and rides on in comfort of his faith as armor. There are references to Erasmus given in studies of this print, and I quote from Metmuseum;

The artist may have based his depiction of the “Christian Knight” on an address from Erasmus’s Instructions for the Christian Soldier (Enchiridion militis Christiani), published in 1504: “In order that you may not be deterred from the path of virtue because it seems rough and dreary … and because you must constantly fight three unfair enemies—the flesh, the devil, and the world—this third rule shall be proposed to you: all of those spooks and phantoms which come upon you as if you were in the very gorges of Hades must be deemed for naught after the example of Virgil’s Aeneas … Look not behind thee.”

The knight also has his trusty dog joining him, in confidence and focus.

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