World's largest Renaissance woodcut by Albrecht Dürer was an act of imperial self-promotion - SMK - Dinamarca
Udstilling | What's on | 6.mar.2015
Experience a true masterpiece by the Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer: An arch of honour measuring no less than 3.5 x 3 metres. The work is a veritable cornucopia of symbols of power, beautiful ornaments and strange fabulous beasts.
It impresses all viewers with its sheer size and wealth of detail. The many battle scenes, creatures and symbols instantly pique our curiosity. What is the meaning of all this? What messages was The Arch of Honour of Maximilian I created to convey?
Albrecht Dürer created the Arch in 1515 as a commission from Maximilian I, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. The work is teeming with countless figures and symbols, and all of these motifs serve one particular purpose: to promote the emperor and support the justness of his claim to the throne of the Holy Roman Empire.
The ugly pomegranate
Maximilian’s family tree, located right in the middle of the work, clearly tells us that he comes from an ancient and noble family, and the historical scenes include his military victories.
The tree itself is a pomegranate tree; if you look closely you will find pomegranates scattered throughout the huge print. The emperor chose the pomegranate as his symbol because it – like him – was not particularly attractive on the outside, but very beautiful inside, filled with well-shaped seeds.