Feast of the Rose Garlands

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Albrecht Durer, Feast of the Rose Garlands, 1506


Dürer's oil painting, Feast of the Rose Garlands transitioned northern European art from the medieval style to the northern Renaissance. This painting was originally commissioned by a German community in Venice near the Town of Fondaco de Tedeschi to be placed in the church of San Bartolomeo. This work remained in Fondaco de Tedeschi until 1606, when the piece was sold to Emperor Rudolph II in Prague. After multiple restorations and transferences to various collectors the work found its way to Czechoslovakia in the 1930s.

Dürer used stylistic elements of both the northern Europeans and the Italians. Although his figures lack depth like his northern European predecessors, he mixes multiple hues to produce a realistic skin tone like his Italian contemporaries. He attempts perspective in the background, while portraying the beauty of northern European mountains at this time period.

Dürer illustrates the story of the "Brotherhood of the Rosary" in this work. He places the Virgin Mary and Christ in the center. He blends the Italian and the German cultures symbolically by setting Pope Sixtus IV on the right of Mary and the designated German emperor Maximilian I with his imperial crown beside him on the right. Dürer shows Mary placing a garland of roses on the head of Maximilian I, hence giving him divine blessing in his future endeavors. Dürer portrays a seemingly unbalanced dichotomy throughout this work by having mountains and differing styles of dress on one side but not the other. In conclusion, Dürer depicts two opposite worlds of northern and southern Europe which are united in harmony (illustrated by the angel with the lute) around Christianity.

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