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Albrecht DÜRER (1471-1528)
Pilate Washing his Hands.

Engraving, 1512. 4-5/8 x 2-15/16 in. (117 x 74 mm), thread margins all around, on fine laid paper without watermark. A brilliant Meder a impression ("schwarz, kontrastreich, gratig, vor allen Wischspuren"), in superb, wholly original condition.

Plate 9 of the 16-plate Engraved Passion of 1507-13 (Bartsch 3-18; Meder 3-18), which was conceived as a stand-alone collector's set without the book elements of the woodcuts. The emphasis is on light, volume and texture. The sophisticated progression from dark to light, from the high grisaille-like treatment of the frontal actors (against "the threatening darkness of the architecture" -- Panofsky) through a variety of grey tones in the middle ground to the bare hilltops and blank sky, exhibits Durer's fully developed clair-obscur technique, perfected for all time in the three nearly contemporaneous, sublime Meisterstiche of 1513-4. The sight lines to the high vanishing point frame the centrally spotlighted kneeling servant (his improbably peaked hat mimicking his posture) and guide the upward parade of people between the two gates, lifting the eye toward Golgotha. This luminous impression is one of the finest in private hands.

Bartsch 11; Dodgson 60; Meder 11; Tietze 539; see particularly Erwin Panofsky, Albrecht Dürer (Princeton, 3rd ed. 1948), v. 1, pp. 140-2; v. 2, no. 118, fig. 188.

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