Feast of the beads by Albrecht Durer

Feast of the beads by Albrecht Durer

The picture “Feast of the beads” was ordered by Dürer, settled in Venice, German merchants for the church of San Bartolomeo, near the German farmstead. The plot of the picture is known: Madonna, baby-Christ and Saint Dominic give wreaths of roses to kneeling worshipers.

In Europe, brotherhoods of the beads were distributed, the founder of which, according to legend, was St. Dominic. Members of the fraternity urged believers not just to sort the rosary, but to imagine that their beads are roses: white, symbolizing the purity of the Virgin Mary, and red beads remind of the blood of Christ.

The composition of the “Holiday of the beads” Durer thought a long time. The entire middle part of the picture and its foreground are strictly symmetrical. On either side of Mary and the baby are Emperor Maximilian and Pope Julius II kneeling. The rest of the people form a ring around the Madonna, opened by a carpet.

Madonna, Dad, Emperor fit into an imaginary pyramid. Behind the Madonna, highlighting her, hangs a narrow long carpet. A similar carpet, like the background for the Virgin Mary, Durer saw in the paintings of Giovani Bellini. The carpet is supported by two angels hovering in the air. Angels are written in the same way as Durer did not write them before, but as was customary with Italians: only heads and wings. White – pink lush wings of angels tremble in the air. In them, a careful study of birds is guessed. Two other angels hang in the air above Maria’s head, supporting a crown of extraordinary beauty and complexity.

Enjoying his skill, the artist wrote a golden red brocade, purple and violet velvet, dark blue silk, a terrible shine of steel, dark cloth, sparkling gold and precious stones, a noble carpet pattern, the tenderness of pale red and white roses.

As always, with love and understanding of the very soul of the trees, he painted brown and black trunks of two old pines. Strict, immobile, they are like silent guards. Between their trunks and the edges of the carpet hanging behind Maria, a wide plain opens up, crossed by a river. At the foot of the cliff there is a city. The landscape is inspired by travel through the Alps, but pine, spruce, birch, willow resemble Durer’s homeland. In the landscape there is a lot of sunlight, fresh greenery, clear blue, festive joy…

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