Coat of Arms with Lion and Rooster

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Albrecht Dürer
German, 1471-1528

Coat of Arms with Lion and Rooster, c. 1503

Engraving in black on ivory laid paper
182 x 118 mm (image/sheet, trimmed within plate mark)
Bequest of Mrs. Potter Palmer, Jr., 1956.938

Bartsch 100; Meder 97 a/g; Schoch, Mende, & Scherbaum 35; Strauss 31

Albrecht Dürer’s imaginary coat of arms is one of the Art Institute’s finest impressions, with a great delicacy of line and range of tonal values and textures. Though he produced a number of literal portraits as well as abstract family crests, Dürer’s over-the-top treatment of the flowing drapery, and the seemingly living symbols—crowing rooster, and lion rampant— on the crest and shield suggest the artist enjoyed taking a stale iconographic convention to its extremes.