A detailed drawing of a woman holding a burning oil lamp in her left hand. She is wearing a loose dress gathered at the waist, and has long curly hair.
Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), A Wise Virgin (recto), 1493, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust) © The Courtauld

A Wise Virgin

Albrecht Dürer

Albrecht Dürer executed this richly detailed drawing at the age of twenty-two, while travelling through Europe’s Upper Rhine region to complete his artistic training. On one side of the sheet he drew a female figure holding a burning oil lamp; she represents one of the Wise Virgins waiting for the bridegroom in the Biblical parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins. 

A sketch of the artist's own left leg from two different viewpoints, wearing loosely wrapped shoes. The date 1493 is visible at the top.
Albrecht Dürer, Studies of the Artist’s Left Leg (verso), 1493, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust) © The Courtauld

Turning the paper at 180° and using the other side of the sheet, the artist sketched his own left leg from two slightly different viewpoints, adding the date 1493 at the top of the sheet. The rapidly sketched lines in this drawing suggest a fresh immediacy. On the other hand, the carefully drawn folds of the Virgin’s tunic as well as her abundant curls show Dürer’s response to the precisely defined lines of contemporary engravings and woodcuts that had made an impact on his early drawing style.    

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Two men sit across from each other at a table covered with a brown tablecloth, playing cards. Both men wear overcoats and hats, and the man on the left smokes a pipe. They sit inside a wooden building. i Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) The Card Players, around 1892-96, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)