The Angel Appearing to Joachim Albrecht Durer Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The events of Joachim and his wife St. Anne revolve around the life of Mathew, James and the Virgin Mary. The Angel Appearing to Joachim is a 1504 painting by Albrecht Durer, showcasing Joachim’s desperation and the Great Fear of the Lord. Joachim had offered to give his share of gifts, but the High Priest rejected them because he had no children.

Joachim is then seen praying in a field, where an angel appears to him to inform him that he, together with his wife would be blessed with a child, a girl, who was to be named Mary. In his work, Durer improvises dark wood to give clear details and create impact. Around Joachim are onlooking shepherds, seen to be in a state of awe and celebration. The series of the events leading to the birth of Christ in his paintings place the Virgin in earthly and divine settings, highlighting her holiness and also human qualities. All the images in his work show perfect cutting and mastery of visual imagery.

The Birth of the Virgin, was painted in 1511 by Durer. In the image is an angel seen hovering by the roof with a censer in hand. The mother of the Virgin as seen in the open curtain lies in bed and in the foreground are female figures sitting, standing and talking in what looks like a birth scene. One of the maidens on the far right cradles the virgin in her arms about to bathe her.

The Visitation by Durer is a 1503 woodcut painting that depicts the episode in Luke 1:39-56. As soon as Angel Gabriel had announced to Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus, she gave Elizabeth a visit. The encounter brought out by Durer shows a pregnant Mary embracing Elizabeth, who is also pregnant with John the Baptist. Elizabeth’s husband Zachariah is standing by the doorway on the left-hand side. Both him and his wife are of old age, and Durer is keen to bring the fact that Zachariah is struck by the pregnancy of his long-time barren wife into life. Mountain landscapes can be seen in the background, as well as, a hilly town. The beautifully detailed landscape is believed to have been inspired by the trips he made between 1494-95 through the Alps.

The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple by Durer, was published in 1511. While the most important figures in this image are Joachim and Anne, Durer seems to place equal significance on all figures. At the table are merchants, who are seen eyeing the incoming people in a mix of suspicious and appraisal manner. Behind the pillar is the virgin child, running up the stairs.