Master Collection 10: 'Mother and Child'
The dragonfly is on the bottom right. But it might be a butterfly: butterflies symbolise the Resurrection of Christ, a caterpillar ‘resurrecting’ into a beautiful winged butterfly.
In the middle of the picture is the Holy Family: Mary, baby Jesus and Saint Joseph.
Joseph appears tired and is fast asleep. Mary is looking tenderly at Jesus. Durer and other German artists of his time pictured Mary, Jesus and Joseph behaving like ordinary people and showing emotions.
In the distance is a harbour leading to open sea. There’s a ship in the harbour and others on the horizon. A small town or city by the harbour has a castle tower and a bridge or pier. There is woodland and open space.
This picture is an engraving. Durer drew lines into a copper plate with a sharp point. When inked, the ink stays in the incised lines and can be printed onto paper. The printed picture is a mirror image of the one drawn on the plate.
Prints like this were sold in shops and by travelling salesmen, to be pasted into books or hung up as objects of devotion.