The Bearer of the Banner of the Canton Glarus

Artist: Urs Graf (Swiss, Solothurn ca. 1485–1529/30 Basel)

Date: 1521

Medium: Pen and brown ink

Dimensions: Sheet: 11 5/16 x 7 1/2 in. (28.8 x 19 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Promised Gift of Leon D. and Debra R. Black, and Purchase, Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 2003

Accession Number: 2003.323


Conceived as one of a series of standard-bearers of the thirteen cantons of the Swiss Confederacy, this drawing depicts a mercenary holding the banner of Glarus, featuring the sixth-century Irish monk Saint Fridolin, who converted the region to Christianity. The importance given to the saint makes him appear almost alive, but his meek expression contrasts with the vigorous stance of the standard-bearer and the latter’s fashionable clothes. The often unorthodox subjects depicted by Urs Graf, who for a time served as a mercenary himself, are matched by his exuberant, calligraphic manner of drawing.