Saturday, 20 December 2008

Dürer's 1504 Black Magus and a 1904 copy

The tradition of the black magus seems to be very much alive to this day. I was in Germany  last week attending my company’s Christmas Party, which gave me the chance to visit not only Dortmund’s wonderful Christmas Market but also most serendipitously an Antique Fare – Dortmunder Antik & Sammlermarkt. (Antique and Collectors Market)

In the Fare a vast shed full of stalls selling all things ‘antique’ from those of dubious origin and quality to exquisite sixteenth original century paintings and sculptures along with all the bric a brac in between.. A wonderful place to spend a morning browsing…but I only had an hour.

I was hoping to find a black magus - I wasn’t disappointed….
On Mr Klaus Hömberg ( stand there was a seventeen piece nativity with a black magus. But not just any black magus this was after Dürer from his Adoration.

Albrect Dürer, (1504) Adoration of the Magi Oil on wood, 100 x 114 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence picture copyright Web Gallery of Art

The posture of the three kings was an exact copy of Dürer’s – the bald, kneeling older king crown on the ground ; the upright bearded, middle king and young, black magus – gift in their right hand with there cap in the other.

As for the date MrH said it dated from the early twentieth century so I took a poetic liberty and dated it at 1904.

The work is of really good quality as seen in middle king which was an image of Dürer as was Dürer’s self portrait in his original Adoration’s middle king.

Mr Hömberg offered me the complete 17 set piece at 180 Euro – with the exchange rate at 1.1 to the pound was little too much for me but really a small price to pay for such a wonderful piece of German/Black Magus history.

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