Friday, February 17, 2017

Satan in Art and Images

Knight, Death and the Devil (German: Ritter, Tod und Teufel, originally Rider, German: Reuter ) is a large 1513 engraving by the German artist Albrecht Dürer, one of the three Meisterstiche (master prints)[1] completed during a period when he almost ceased to work in paint or woodcuts to focus on engravings. The image is infused with complex iconography and symbolism, the precise meaning of which has been argued over for centuries.
An armoured knight, accompanied by a faithful and loyal dog, rides through a narrow gorge flanked by a goat-headed devil and the figure of death riding a pale horse. Death's rotting corpse holds an hourglass to remind the knight of the shortness of life. The rider moves through the scene ignoring or looking away from the creatures lurking around him. He appears to be almost contemptuous of the threats, and is often seen to be a symbol of courage;[2] the knight’s armor, the horse which towers in size over the beasts, the oak leaves and the fortress on the mountaintop are symbolic of the resilience of faith, while the knight's plight may represent Christians' earthly journey towards the Kingdom of Heaven.[3]
The work was mentioned by Vasari as one of "several sheets of such excellence that nothing finer can be achieved".[4] It was widely copied and had a large influence on later German writers. Nietzsche referenced the work in his The Birth of Tragedy (1872) to exemplify pessimism, while it was idealised in the 20th century by the Nazis as representing the racially pure Aryan, and was sometimes used in their propaganda imagery. (Wikipedia)

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