The Virgin offers the Christ Child a pear (a symbol of pacification) instead of an apple, which would remind the viewer of the Fall of Man. The relationship between the mother and the child is less formal than Dürer’s earlier renditions of the theme. The background affords a deep view through the pointed arch of a massive city gate. But our eye is also encouraged to wander over the surface and relish details such as the swirling folds of the Virgin’s drapery, the spiralling tree trunk and the uniform hatchings of the sky with its drifting clouds.
(Madonna with the pear)
(The Madonna and child with pear)
(the Virgin with a pear)
Die Jungfrau mit der Birne
engraving on white laid paper
i of 1 state
15.8 x 10.8 cm image/sheet (irreg.)
Signature & date
Signed l.l., [incised plate] "AD [artist's monogram]". Dated upper c., [incised plate] "1511".
Not on display
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Piety and Paganism, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Jul 1991–29 Sep 1991
German Old Master Prints, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 03 Mar 1998–16 Jun 1998
Old Europe: Prints & drawings from the collection 1500-1800, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 03 Jun 2006–06 Aug 2006
European prints and drawings 1500-1900, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 Aug 2014–02 Nov 2014
Referenced in 3 publications
Nicholas Draffin, Piety and Paganism, Sydney, 1991, pp 4, 12.
Renée Free, AGNSW Collections, 'European art. The Western heritage, Renaissance to twentieth century', Sydney, 1994, pp 108–72: pp 112–13, col illus p 112.
Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales: Minutes 25.5.1923-28.11.1929, Sydney, 1923-1929, p 1009 (18 Sep 1928). no 11