Durer and the Art of the Garden
By Dr Richard Stemp
13th January 2022 6pm

Recently a drawing, bought as a copy at a clearance sale for $30, has been authenticated as an original work by German renaissance master Albrecht Dürer, and Agnews are currently looking for a private buyer who would be willing to pay more like $50 million… It shows the Virgin and Child, with Mary seated on a raised garden bed, a theme which was common in Germany in the late 15th and early 16th Centuries, and which Dürer returned to on several occasions. The Christ Child holds a flower, although the spontaneous flourish which defines it does not allow us to guess what it is. On more highly finished works, though, the representation of the flora is both specific and accurate, and the artist’s attention to detail means that even a watercolour of a piece of turf becomes endlessly fascinating – the world in microcosm, it would seem. This talk will look at the ways in which Dürer used gardens – and the fruit and flowers they produce – to enrich his works and to convey further meaning. It will draw on material included in the current National Gallery exhibition, as well as works which are too fragile to travel, such as the Feast of the Rose Garlands, now in Prague – not to mention, of course, the newly-found drawing.

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