Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg
Illustrated by Albrecht Dürer
This illustration is a classic example of the type of profile vanity portrait popular among the social elite during the
Renaissance (and it is recognised as Dürer's most interesting utilisation of profile). Depicting an ageing Cardinal Albrecht
of Brandenburg, it was prepared by Dürer as a gift to the Cardinal.
Mrs Charles W Heaton (The History of the Life of Albrecht Durer of Nurnberg with a Translation of His Letters and
Journal and Some Accounts of His Work: Seeley, Jackson and Halliday, London; 1881), notes Dürer's personal
correspondence to the Cardinal some months after the dispatch of the engraved plate and associated prints:
Before I became ill this year I sent an engraved copper plate to Your Electoral Grace
with your portrait together with five hundred impressions thereof. Finding no
acknowledgement of this in Your Grace's letter, I fear that either the portrait did
note please Your Grace - this would sadden me, as my diligence would have had
poor results - or else, I fear that it may not have reached Your Grace at all. I beg
Your Grace for a gracious reply.
Strauss (The Complete Engravings, Etching and Drypoints of Albrecht Durer: Dover Publications, New York; 1972)
discusses the illustration further:
The fact that Dürer sent five hundred copies to the Cardinal, all produced at the same
time, explains the uniform quality of so many impressions found in various collections.
All these have the identical watermark, a small jug. This engraving is based on a new
preparatory drawing that probably dates from the Diet of Nuremberg (1522/23). The
Cardinal had gained weight since the earlier portrait (The Small Cardinal), he had wild,
protruding eyes, a bulbous mouth and layers of fat on chin and cheeks. Dürer offset
the predominant lower part of the face with a large cap. It suggests that beneath it a
large impressive head is to be found. In actuality that was not the case. Dürer used
utmost discretion in the treatment of the physiological details without denying the
monstrous reality. It is Dürer's most interesting utlisation of profile.
In contrast with The Small Cardinal, and in accordance with other late portrait engravings,
this portrait has depth and substance. It is treated as a real tablet, carved and framed after
the fashion of Roman tombstones, which were common in Germany, as in Italy and
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 CAB SGC
Reproduction on 8x12" sheet
Code: AD CAB (8x12)
Reproduction on 12x18" sheet
Code: AD CAB (12x18)
Detail from the illustration
|The Cardinal's Coat-of-Arms|