Death of the VirginEnlarge image

Death of the Virgin, 1510

Albrecht Dürer
German, 1471 - 1528
woodcut on laid paper
28.9 x 20.6 cm
Purchased 1956
National Gallery of Canada (no. 6603)

The "Death of the Virgin" is drawn from the medieval "Golden Legend", which relates how the twelve apostles were called to her bedside. The flame of the candle in her hand symbolizes Christian faith. This popular subject among Renaissance printmakers and painters alike can be compared with the National Gallery of Canada’s "Dormition of the Virgin" (no. 5768) by an unknown German artist of the late fifteenth century. Whereas the apostles appear crowded into a modest room in the painting, Dürer has created a larger and more convincing space using perspective and scale.


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