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“Feast of the Rosary” by Albrecht Dürer

"Feast of the Rosary" by Albrecht Dürer

“Feast of the Rosary” by Albrecht Dürer

“Feast of the Rosary” by Albrecht Dürer shows the Virgin Enthroned holding the Child. Above her head are two flying angels holding an elaborated royal crown made of gold, pearls and gems. The throne’s backrest is covered with a green drape and by a ceremonial fabric over the throne, which is held by two flying cherubs. At the Virgin’s feet is an angel playing the lute. Mary is in the act of distributing rose garlands to kneeling worshippers, lined up in rows at the sides. This composition motif was a Flemish scheme that had become widespread in Germany at the time.

On the left of the throne, is Pope Julius II, who is being crowned by the Child and is being followed by a procession of religious figures. On the right of the throne is the German emperor Frederick III, being crowned by Mary and followed by a lay procession. The pope and the emperor were the supreme authorities of the Catholic world but they had laid the papal tiara and the imperial crown on the ground next to the angel and were kneeling to receive Madonna’s blessing.

Angels on either side of the throne are helping to distribute the crowns of flowers, as well as St. Dominic of Guzman, who stands next to the Chris Child. On the right, nearby a lush Alpine landscape and just in front of the tree is the Albrecht Dürer in a self-portrait. The artist is looking directly at the viewer with a document in his hands. The paper has his signature with an inscription, reporting the time needed to complete the work as five months.

This work dates to Dürer’s visit to Venice and the subject of the “Feast of the Rosary” was a theme connected to the worship that the German citizens in Venice had towards Our Lady of the Rosary. It was is a feast day of the Roman Catholic Church, which celebrated the anniversary of the decisive victory of the combined fleet of the Holy League of 1571 over the Ottoman navy at the Battle of Lepanto.

Albrecht Dürer

Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528) was born in Nuremberg, and his vast body of work includes engravings, prints, altarpieces, portraits and watercolours and academic books. Dürer established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties due to his high-quality woodcut prints. He cultivated communications with the major Italian artists of his time, and from 1512 he was patronised by emperor Maximilian I.

Dürer’s introduced classical motifs into Northern art, and through his association with Italian artists and German humanists, he became one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. His authority was supported by his theoretical treatises, which covered mathematics, perspective, and proportions. Both the Lutheran and Episcopal Churches also commemorate Dürer.


  • “What beauty is, I know not, though it adheres to many things.” – Albrecht Durer

Feast of the Rosary

  • Title:               Feast of the Rosary
  • German:         Rosenkranzfest
  • Artist:             Albrecht Dürer
  • Year:               1506
  • Medium:         Oil on panel
  • Dimensions:   Height: 162 cm (63.7 ″); Width: 192 cm (75.5 ″)
  • Museum:        National Gallery in Prague

Albrecht Durer

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“If a man devotes himself to art,
much evil is avoided that happens otherwise if one is idle.”
– Albrecht Dürer


Photo Credit: 1) Albrecht Dürer [Public domain]