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4

Albrecht Dürer

The Desperate Man (B. 70; M., Holl. 95)

Albrecht Dürer

Albrecht Dürer

The Desperate Man (B. 70; M., Holl. 95)

The Desperate Man (B. 70; M., Holl. 95)

Albrecht Dürer

1471 - 1528

The Desperate Man (B. 70; M., Holl. 95)


Etching, circa 1515, a very fine, atmospheric Meder a impression, printing before the rust marks, with selectively wiped plate tone emphasising the highlights throughout, framed

sheet: 183 by 133mm 7¼ by 5¼in

Trimmed to or just within the plate mark, in good condition, with a softened hortizontal crease at centre, a small, faint brown stain at the woman's left arm, the verso with a backed pin hole towards the right sheet edge, framed. (Hinge remnants along the left sheet edge verso).


Please note that Condition 11 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

The Desperate Man is one of only six etchings by Dürer. Although the print bears no date, it is believed to precede the others due to its experimental nature. The five figures are thought to have been etched directly onto the plate without a preparatory drawing and they have been planted with no unified spatial plane, despite hints at a landscape behind. As such, it has the look of a study sheet produced by Dürer to test the etching technique. Each disparate figure could have been based on an earlier sketch as the man on the left resembles a drawing of Dürer’s brother, Endres, from 1514.


Panofsky speculated that the unusual grouping could be representative of humoral insanity, given Dürer’s preoccupation with the humors which was at a peak in 1514-15. The central figure tearing at his hair in desperation – from whom the print gets its name – represents violent choleric melancholy. Above his left shoulder, a haggard face emerges embodying depression. The jovial youth behind him is sanguinic and the sleeping woman to the right is the emotionless phlegmatic. These are contrasted with the healthy individual resembling Endres, perhaps illustrating the types of melancholy that could take hold of him depending on his personality.