Knight on Horseback and Lansquenet, c. 1497
woodcut on laid paper
38.7 x 28.1 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 858)
The source of this military genre subject remains a mystery. There is a certain urgency compelling the knight as he beckons to his man-at-arms to run faster. But to what destination? The scene appears to foretell Cervantes’ "Don Quixote" (1605), a tale of a bumbling knight and his sidekick, but surely Dürer never intended the same comic irony. Perhaps the lively dog in the foreground is a clue that they are not far from home. The motif of the galloping rider recalls Dürer’s famous woodcut "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse".