Illustrated by Albrecht Dürer
This image is understood to have been prepared in, or about, 1514 and is widely recognized among Dürer's masterworks.
Knackfuss (Durer: H Grevel & Co, London; 1900) describes the illustration thus:
Here is a seated figures which personified the power of the human intellect, crowned
with the laurel of fame, surrounded by all kinds of symbols of human knowledge and
power, such as tools and figures of solid geometry. This mighty being may soar far
away on her stalwart pinions, yet at last she sinks exhausted in the consciousness of her
imperfection. She is like the child which sits on the millstone doing sums and exercises
on a tablet. She almost envies the brute which has no yearning after knowledge to
mar its slumber. The crucible of the alchemist, but which the ultimate elements of
things refuse to be revealed, and the sphere, the content of which cannot be expressed
in numbers, are symbols of the limitation of the human spirit and counterparts of the
ladder leaning against the tower, in mockers of the tiny height above the earth to
which man is able to raise himself. Space and time set limits to the human intellect.
The hour-glass and the bell on the wall of the tower, where a square frame of
numbers tells of the aimless trifling of human ingenuity, proclaim that time is fleeting
and that its hours are numbered. And over the vanishing horizon of the ocean the
enigmatical apparition of a comet gleams through the infinite space of the heavens,
adorned with the intangible shape of a rainbow. Conscious of her own nothingness
in the presence of the universe, the genius gazes before her, dejected, with drooping
pinions, and her hand rests idly on the book, in which the incomprehensible mystery
is not told, and on the compasses with which she cannot measure the unattainable.
How to purchase our Greeting Cards and large format reproductions
When presented on Greeting Cards, this image is prepared as a tipped-on plate - in hommage to the hand-crafted
approach typical of prestige illustrated publications produced in the early decades of the 20th Century. Each card is
hand-finished, with the image presented on White card stock with an accompanying envelope. On the rear of each
card we also present some information about Albrecht Dürer and this wonderful illustration. We have left the interior
of the cards blank so that you may write your own personal message.
Each of our large format reproductions are prepared with archival quality materials and processes to ensure many years
of enjoyment. In addition, our reproductions are accompanied by explanatory material relating to Albrecht Dürer and
this wonderful illustration.
To purchase, simply click on the appropriate "Add to Cart" button appearing above and you'll be taken through to
our Shopping Cart secured through PayPal. Multiple purchases will be consolidated by that feature and shipping and
handling costs to any destination in the world are accommodated by our flat-rate fee of US$20 for every US$200
worth of purchases.
Of course, should you wish to discuss some customised options, we welcome your contact on any matter through
In the meantime, enjoy perusing this wonderful illustration by Albrecht Dürer.
Single Greeting Card (with matching Envelope)
Code: AD M SGC
Reproduction on 8x12" sheet
Code: AD M (8x12)
Reproduction on 12x18" sheet
Some details from the illustration
|The disconsolate genius||The child doing sums||Symbols of the passage of time|