Internet Shakespeare Editions


Art in the north of Europe

Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple. Dürer.
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

This print of the presentation of Christ at the temple by the German artist Albrecht Dürer* shows several characteristics of renaissance painting as it became modified in northern European countries.

The classical architecture is used very differently from the effect in Raphael: it weighs the image on the left side rather than producing balance and proportion. Thus great stress is put on the left foreground where a group of ordinary women are selling various articles, including sheep for sacrifice (see detail of the market*). There is a similar shift of emphasis in Dürer's print of the Birth of the Virgin, where the midwives and "gossips," or godmothers gathered to celebrate the birth, are emphasised over the actual birth taking place in the bed in the background. (Click to see this picture.*)


  1. Albrecht Dürer

    Dürer (1471-1528) was a traveller, a humanist and a scholar; his many great works included woodcuts and drawings as well as paintings. The prints included in this program are from his series on the Life of the Virgin, and are reproduced by permission of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Canada.

  2. Detail of the image

    Detail of the Presentation of the Virgin, showing the women selling their wares beside the Temple. Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.