Germany: ca. 1496.
Engraving: 11.9 x 12.6 cm.
3rd state of 8. Meder 82 c (of h).
A fine impression, with good clarity and strong contrasts. Slight breakdown in the delicate cuts. Trimmed within the platemark, inconspicuous paper repair to edge. Provenance: From the renowned collection of Richard Holtkott (1890-1950) (Lugt 4265). Bartsch 95, High Crown watermark (Meder 20).
“The pig represented here refers to 'The Monstrous Pig of Landser' born on 1 March 1496 at Landser in Alsace, which is represented in a broadside by Sebastian Brant published in German and Latin editions by the Basel publisher, Johann Bergmann von Olpe: "In the year 1496 a wondrous sow was born in the village of Landser with one head, four ears, two bodies, eight feet, on six of which it stood, and with two tongues".
“Dürer could not have seen this pig which only lived for one day, but he knew the broadside: the pig is shown in a different position to the crudely-cut broadside, but the building in the background represents the castle in Landser represented by the Basel woodcutter.
“The birth of the sow at Landser caused quite a stir, and was even mentioned among the events of 1496 annotated by Conrad Peutinger in his copy of the 1489 Venice edition of ‘Scriptores Historiae Augustae’. A further report of conjoined pigs, which may have been the Landser sow as a stuffed specimen, was made by Heinrich Deichsler in his Nuremberg Chronicle of 1488-1506, who stated that a pair of conjoined pigs was to be viewed in Nuremberg at Easter, 1496.
“It is typical of Dürer's ingenuity that he transformed a newsworthy subject, normally interpreted in conjunction with lengthy moralizing verse, into a small, beautifully engraved image to be taken at face value without any explanatory text. His interest in pigs at this period also relates to the drawings he made for the Prodigal Son.”(Albrecht Dürer and his Legacy', British Museum exhibition catalogue, 2002-3, no.43).
Bartsch 95, Meder 82 c (of h). Schoch, Mende, & Scherbaum, “Durer Achtzig Meisterblatter” 8; High Crown watermark (Meder 20)