DURER, Albrecht (1471-1528)
Temptation of the Idler or Dream of the Doctor
[Nuremberg: 1497/98] [but 19th century]. Counterproof, engraving and drypoint, trimmed within platemark: 7 3/8 x 4 3/4 inches.
A reversed, late copy of one of Durer's secular "moralities"
This is a mirror image of the original engraving on laid paper by the great Northern Renaissance artist, Albrecht Durer. The meaning of the print has been the subject of scholarly dispute, as the title given is not Durer's. A scholar or doctor is napping by a warm stove. A demon is blowing evil notions into his mind, and a nude woman, presumably Venus, stands beside him, a figment of his dream. Cupid on little stilts (representing the precarious nature of love) toys with a sphere at the bottom of the scene, the sphere possiby representing the world. The whole scene suggests a moralistic, and rather Germanic, warning about self-indulgence: too much comfort and idleness leave one open to the Devil's ploys: fantasies of love and lust.