Jun 5, 2006

The Sea Monster

The Sea Monster

c. 1501

Albrecht Dürer

(German, 1471–1528)


Sheet: 24.5 x 18.6 cm (9 5/8 x 7 5/16 in.); Mat Size: 49 x 36.3 cm (19 5/16 x 14 5/16 in.)

Gift of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. 1934.340

Catalogue raisonné: Meder 66



The precise narrative of Dürer’s Sea Monster remains a source of debate among scholars because locating the origin of this imagery in either classical or German mythology has been difficult. The engraving depicts a woman’s abduction by a horned mythical hybrid creature that has the torso of a man and the tail of a fish. Set before a detailed coastal landscape featuring Nuremberg castle, the woman’s companions across the river flail their arms in distress over her kidnapping. While it is clear that Dürer aimed to showcase his achievements in portraying a reclining female nude, her somewhat blasé appearance and lack of struggle add to the peculiarity of this image.

See also
PR - Engraving
Type of artwork: 

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