Hand Study with Bible 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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This drawing by Albrecht Durer dates from around 1506 and provides another example of his strong anatomical skills, with this piece focusing entirely on two male hands.

The original drawing is now owned by the Albertina in Vienna, an impressive institution that also holds sketches by other notable Dutch or Netherlandish artists such as Rembrandt, Jan van Eyck and Vermeer. The detail found in this study of hands helps to put this as one of Durer's most impressive artworks within this discipline, although sadly there is only limited information available on it today.

There are many elements to this artwork that remind us of Durer's most famous drawing, which was titled Praying Hands. From the choice of content, focusing entirely on one element of the human body, to the tools and techniques used, even the most casual of observers would be able to conclude that the two came from the same artist. The use of the bible in this drawing allows an element of contrast plus also a pontential for symbolism once the content had been expanded for a future painting or engraving.

Drawing was not seen as important during the Northern Renaissance as it is today, meaning many of Durer's study pieces would not have been preserved or cared for, with them merely seen as supporting articles for other, larger paintings or etchings. Perhaps these artists did not want others to see their methods of production, almost pretending that everything came naturally and from artistic genius.