St. AnthonyEnlarge image

St. Anthony, 1519

Albrecht Dürer
German, 1471 - 1528
engraving on laid paper
10.2 x 14.6 cm; plate: 10 x 14.3 cm
Purchased 1951
National Gallery of Canada (no. 5906)

St. Anthony was a hermetic monk who lived in third-century Egypt. His habit, cowl, and bare feet identify him as the founder of the monastic system. From the twelfth century, Antonite monks attached a bell to their cross when collecting alms for hospitals. In Dürer’s print, the saint reads by a riverbank, the line of his studious figure echoing the triangular massing of the cityscape in the distance. The setting of the print suggests that as a contemplative aesthete, St. Anthony remains indifferent to the distractions of city life.


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