Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471–1528)
Oil on wood
23 5/8 x 19 5/8 in. (60 x 49.8 cm)
Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.633)
This picture shows Saint Anne, who was particularly venerated in Germany, with her daughter, the Virgin Mary, and the Christ Child. Although the monogram and date are later additions, the picture was probably painted in 1519, the year Dürer became an ardent follower of Martin Luther. The theme and emotional intensity of the work, which was intended for private devotion, suggest the influence of the artist's new beliefs. The motif of the Virgin adoring the sleeping Christ Child was probably inspired by the Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini, whose art Dürer admired during his two trips to Italy. The painting was acquired in 1630 by Maximilian I, elector of Bavaria, and remained in the royal collection at Schlessheim until it was sold in 1852.