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Study of Two Feet for the Apostle Paul in the Heller Altarpiece

Study of Two Feet for the Apostle Paul in the Heller Altarpiece

Albrecht Dürer (in circa 1508)

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Like his Italian contemporaries Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer was a versatile and influential Renaissance artist. He travelled widely, visiting among other places the Netherlands and Northern Italy. In the course of those journeys, he encountered the principles of humanistic philosophy and the innovative artistic idiom of the Early Renaissance. Dürer is best known for his woodcuts and engravings. Prints of his work were widely distributed and had a profound influence on other artists. Between 1507 and 1509, he painted a large panel depicting the Assumption of the Virgin and the Coronation of the Virgin for his patron Jacob Heller, a wealthy textile merchant. It was to form part of an altarpiece for a Dominican church in Frankfurt, but the altarpiece has unfortunately been lost. From his correspondence with Heller, we learn that Dürer spent more than a year preparing the work. He made several studies for various parts of the painting. They were all drawn in the same manner, with a brush and black ink, heightened with white, on paper with a coloured ground. Twenty of these studies have survived, including this famous drawing. It shows the two feet on which Dürer based the feet of the kneeling apostle Paul, at lower right in the centre panel of the Heller Altarpiece. In the drawing, we also see the hem of a cloak over the right foot. [text: Albert Elen]

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Collection book

Collection book Order


Title Study of Two Feet for the Apostle Paul in the Heller Altarpiece
Material and technique Brush in black ink, gray wash, heightened with white, on green prepared paper
Object type
Drawing > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Location This object is in storage
Dimensions Height 176 mm
Width 216 mm
Artists Draughtsman: Albrecht Dürer
Accession number MB 1958/T 24 (PK)
Credits Acquired with the collection of D.G. Van Beuningen, 1958
Department Drawings & Prints
Acquisition date 1958
Creation date in circa 1508
Collector Collector / D.G. van Beuningen
Internal exhibitions Van Pisanello tot Cézanne (1992)
De Collectie Twee - wissel I, Prenten & Tekeningen (2009)
TEFAF - Collecting Collectors (2016)
Rondom Fra Bartolommeo (2016)
External exhibitions Dürer (2013)
Dürer e il Rinascimento Tedesco (2018)
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen @ Rijksmuseum (2023)
Prepare > Prepared > Shaping techniques > General technique > Technique > Material and technique
Prepare > Prepared > Shaping techniques > General technique > Technique > Material and technique
Highlight > Painting technique > Technique > Material and technique
Grey wash > Washing > Wash > Drawing technique > Technique > Material and technique
Geographical origin Germany > Western Europe > Europe

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All about the artist

Albrecht Dürer

Neurenberg 1471 - Neurenberg 1528

Albrecht Dürer received his first lessons from his father, who was a goldsmith. He subsequently became a pupil of the painter Michael Wohlgemut. Dürer...

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