In this drawing Kiefer refers to the legend of Saint Eustace, a second-century A.D. Christian martyr who is the subject of a famously large and meticulously detailed engraving by Albrecht Dürer (Saint Eustace, ca. 1500-1501, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fletcher Fund, 1919 (19.73.65). According to his legend, Eustace was a noble officer in the army of the Roman emperor Trajan, who, while hunting one day, encountered a stag. This magnificent animal bore a crucifix between his antlers and addressed the soldier in the name of Christ, converting Eustace to Christianity. Basing his image of the stag on photographs he took of a reindeer he saw during a trip to Norway in 1974, Kiefer replaces the crucifix with a radiant painter's palette.
Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings
Inscription: Inscribed (at bottom in watercolor): S. Eustachius; inscribed (lower right in ballpoint pen): für Julia
private collection (1974–83; sold in 1983 to d'Offay); [Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London, 1983–95; sold in 1995 to Polsky]; Cynthia Hazen Polsky, New York (1995–2000; on extended loan to MMA 1995–2000; her gift to MMA)