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The Sea Monster
The Sea Monster
Sheet: 24.5 x 18.6 cm (9 5/8 x 7 5/16 in.); Mat Size: 49 x 36.3 cm (19 5/16 x 14 5/16 in.)
Gift of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. 1934.340
Catalogue raisonné: Meder 66
The precise narrative of Dürer’s Sea Monster remains a source of debate among scholars because locating the origin of this imagery in either classical or German mythology has been difficult. The engraving depicts a woman’s abduction by a horned mythical hybrid creature that has the torso of a man and the tail of a fish. Set before a detailed coastal landscape featuring Nuremberg castle, the woman’s companions across the river flail their arms in distress over her kidnapping. While it is clear that Dürer aimed to showcase his achievements in portraying a reclining female nude, her somewhat blasé appearance and lack of struggle add to the peculiarity of this image.
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