innovative about knight death and the devil

Innovative about knight death and the devil
An armoured knight, accompanied by his dog, rides through a narrow gorge flanked by a goat-headed devil and the figure of death riding a pale horse. Death’s rotting corpse holds an hourglass, a reminder of the shortness of life. The rider moves through the scene looking away from the creatures lurking around him, and appears almost contemptuous of the threats, and is thus often seen as symbol of courage; [2] the knight’s armor, the horse which towers in size over the beasts, the oak leaves and the fortress on the mountaintop are symbolic of the resilience of faith, while the knight’s plight may represent Christians’ earthly journey towards the Kingdom of Heaven. [3]
Knight, Death and the Devil (German: Ritter, Tod und Teufel) is a large 1513 engraving by the German artist Albrecht Dürer, one of the three Meisterstiche (master prints) [1] completed during a period when he almost ceased to work in paint or woodcuts to focus on engravings. The image is infused with complex iconography and symbolism, the precise meaning of which has been argued over for centuries.

Goris, Jan Albert and Georges Marlier. Albrecht Dürer: Diary of his Journey to the Netherlands 1520–21. Accompanied by the Silverpoint Sketchbook and Paintings and Drawings Made during his Journey. London: Lund Humphries, 1971.
As has often been observed, Dürer’s Knight, Death, and the Devil is centered around an unlikely union: a German, Gothic knight mounted on an Italian Renaissance horse. 5 This juxtaposition results in a fascinating balance between the chivalric and religious ideal promoted by the knight, a vestige of the Middle Ages, and the ideal perfection of the horse, with its reference to Italian artistic ideas that Dürer admired. Dürer’s engraving bridges these two eras, making a statement about the power of collective belief, but does so through an idealized expression of individual vigor and resoluteness.

ROME — No artist better fits Thomas Carlyle’s definition of genius, as the “transcendent capacity of taking trouble,” than Albrecht Dürer. The industry of the man was breathtaking, his mastery of detail astonishing, yet everything he did seemed fresh and newly minted.
Born in Nuremberg in 1471, Dürer first followed in the footsteps of his goldsmith father (who was Hungarian). But he formed the ambition to be a painter at a very tender age, demonstrating amazing skills as a draftsman. Apprenticed to Michel Wolgemut, a painter and designer of woodcuts for books, Dürer subsequently set out on the customary “Wanderjahre” (“wandering years”) of aspiring craftsmen seeking to broaden their knowledge before creating a suitably accomplished “masterpiece” that would entitle them to be enlisted in the relevant guild as independent masters. Dürer’s peregrinations took him to Colmar, Basel and Strasbourg, and then he headed south.

Innovative about knight death and the devil
He traveled to Italy in 1494, and returned again in 1505-6. Contact with Italian painters resonated deeply in his art. Dürer was also a great admirer of Leonardo da Vinci. He was intrigued by the Italian master’s studies of the human figure, and after 1506 applied and adapted Leonardo’s proportions to his own figures, as is evident in his drawings.

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Innovative about knight death and the devil
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The engraving is heavily indebted to the Gothic style. Many of the forms blend into each other. The outline of the horse is built from a series of interlocking curves, while the knight’s chin is woven into the line of his helmet. These two central figures are surrounded by a tangled mass of branches, harness and hair, which according to art historian Raymond Stites contrast with the relatively solid figure of the knight and his horse to set them as a “tangible idea in a world of changing forms”. The man is shown looking doggedly straight ahead, he does not allow his line of vision be interrupted or distracted by the demons beside him.

References:

http://museum.cornell.edu/exhibitions/albrecht-d%C3%BCrer-master-prints
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/18/arts/18iht-conway.1.5769292.html
http://www.etsy.com/listing/81334566/durer-fine-art-reproduction-knight-death
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbR9sPJ_a2A
http://totallyhistory.com/knight-death-and-the-devil/

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