Crown Prints

A detail from “The Woman of Babylon Seated Upon a Beast With Seven Heads” (Revelation 17:5 ff.) by Albrecht Dürer. The woman and the beast are in the lower right quadrant of the picture.

The College has acquired a print by the German Renaissance master Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), which will be hung in a room in Monocacy Hall dedicated to the late James J. Heller, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College from 1961 to 1991.

Heller, who died in 1999, was a professor of biblical theology who was an authority on the Book of Revelation from the New Testament. He also admired Dürer and often used his prints to illustrate his lectures. “The Woman of Babylon Seated Upon a Beast With Seven Heads,” from the 17th chapter of Revelation, is particularly meaningful for the Heller Conference Room, says Diane Radycki, assistant professor of art history and director of Payne Gallery.

Diane took several of her students to the 13th annual New York Print Fair, held November 6-9, and they found this print by happenstance. She says its price was within the College’s budget because of a microscopic flaw in the top left-hand corner of the border. The print had been trimmed to the borderline and remargined, after which the borderline had been retraced in places.

Diane says the trimming, which can be seen under a 10-power lens but not with the naked eye, “affected by five figures the price we paid.” Another Dürer print in mint condition went for $60,000, she says.

The woodcut measures 39.2 by 27.6 centimeters and is part of a Revelation series that Dürer created in 1496-98. It is now the oldest work in the College collection.

December 9, 2003

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