Image: 19 x 12.2 cm (7 1/2 x 4 13/16 in.)
Gift of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. 1934.341
Catalogue raisonné: Meder 70a
Scholars generally agree that this curious engraving represents the contemporary proverb "Idling is the pillow of the devil," a moral message against the sin of sloth. Here, a middle-aged scholar dozes before a warm stove. The devil hovers behind him and uses a fireplace bellows to kindle impure desires. Aroused by the devil’s sinful provocation, the scholar’s subconscious conjures Venus, an object of lustful temptation. Dürer’s image explores the realm of dreams and innermost thought in association with powerful female sexuality. Like many of his other engravings of this early period, Dürer uses obscure, moralistic stories to consider the female nude both creatively and intellectually. Although aimed at a primarily cultured male audience, Dürer presents Venus as a source of desire not only for the sinful idler, but for the viewer as well.
The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.
Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email email@example.com.