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Albrecht Durer completed the Master Engravings in the years 1513 and 1514 With these three engravings Knight Death and Devil St Jerome in His Study and Melencolia I he reached the high point of his artistic expression and concentration Each print represents a different philosophical perspective on the worlds respectively of action spirit and intellect Although Durer himself evidently did not think of the three as a set He sometimes sold or gave St Jerome and Melencolia I as a pair In the engraving Knight Death and Devil it appears that the hero the Knight is gaining a moral victory over death Fig 1 The Knight has often been interpreted as Erasmuss sturdy Christian soldier who scoffs at death and the devil as he goes about Gods work in his journey through life The conception of the Christian soldier embodies and ideal of manly virtue which the traditional instincts of the Germanic race German mysticism and Northern versions of Renaissance ideals all contributed to form The Horse is represented in full profile as to show off its perfect proportions it is forcefully modeled so as to give its perfect anatomy and it moves with regulated step of the riding school so as to give demonstration of perfect rhythm The fact that a beautiful setter is running by the side of the horse completes the picture of the Christian man as known to the Late Middle Ages the man who armed with faith and accompanied by religious zeal symbolized by the faithful hound goes on his way along the narrow path of earthly life menaced by Death and the Devil From the gloom of this rough and dreary scenery there emerge Death and the Devil Death wears a regal crown and is mounted on a meager listless jade with a cowbell but he is even ghastlier in that he is not depicted as an actual skeleton but as a decaying corpse with
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