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 Durer, Nemesis (The Great Fortune), 1503

Look at those child-bearing hips. Durer depicts Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, as the perfect woman. She has large hips and a plump stomach signifying she would be a great bearer of children; in other words the ideal wife and woman. Some features distract from the fact that she is supposed to be a woman. Her legs are muscular to the point of believing it is a man. Her face does not look like one of a goddess, it is smug and she looks unhappy. She does not look like a beautiful woman but instead a man who is in pain.

Nemesis believed no one should have an abundance of unnecessary things and cursed people who did. She stands above a town on a globe with a goblet in one hand and reins in another. Seems a little contradictory to me. If you believe people should not have luxurious objects, why not be depicted on the ground with all the other common people. In addition, why be depicted with a fancy golden cup and reins?

Durer includes this engraving in his series of studying the anatomy of humans, birds and other animals. He leaves the background at the top white so the attention stays on Nemesis then drifts towards the ground where there is a small town. Nemesis has overtly large wings that are similar to those in Durer’s Wing of a Blue Roller.  Because there is no background, the oversized wings take over the left side of the painting. Personally, I enjoy looking at this painting. The complexity of the bottom half contradicts the simplicity of the top half to a wonderful extreme.

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