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Coat-of-Arms of Vanitas

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Nuremberg (engraved)

  • Date:

    1503 (engraved)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dürer, Albrecht, born 1471 - died 1528 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraving on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D, box EL82C

Physical description

Engraving by Albrecht Dürer, ‘Coat-of-Arms with a Skull’ or ‘Coat-of-Arms of Vanitas’; 1503, German. Inscribed with artist’s monogram at bottom centre and dated. A coat of arms bearing a skull is surmounted by a helmet mounted with a pair of magnificent wings and fluttering ribbons or acanthus foliage. At left, a young woman in ornate dress and headdress is caressed by a cloven-hooved, bearded incarnation of the devil.

Place of Origin

Nuremberg (engraved)


1503 (engraved)


Dürer, Albrecht, born 1471 - died 1528 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Engraving on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Artist's monogram at centre bottom


Height: 22 cm, Width: 15.6 cm

Descriptive line

Coat of Arms with a Skull by Albrecht Durer (1471-1528); engraving; 1503

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Strauss, Walter L., ed. The Illustrated Bartsch 10 (Commentary): Sixteenth Century German Artists, Albrecht Dürer. New York: Abaris Books, 1980. 328 p., ill. ISBN 089835000X. pp.223-224.
Dodgson, C. The Masters of Engraving and Etching: Albrecht Dürer, London and Boston, 1926. 36.
Heller, Joseph. Das Leben und die Werke Albrecht Dürer. Bamberg: 1827. Vols. 2 & 3 (vol. 1 was not published). 1022.
Meder, Joseph. Dürer-Katalog: Ein Handbuch über Albrecht Dürers Stiche, Radierungen, Holzschnitte, deren Zustände, Ausgaben und Wasserzeichen. Vienna, 1932. 98.
Tietze, Hans and Erika Tietze-Conrat. Kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke Albrecht Dürers. Vol. 1, Augsburg 1928; vol.2, Basel and Leipzig 1937; vol.3, Basel and Leipzig, 1938. 211.
Panofsky, Erwin. Albrecht Dürer. Princeton 1943. (Addenda in the editions of 1945 and 1948). 208.
Strauss, W.L. The Intaglio Prints of Albrecht Dürer . New York, 1977. 40.
Hollstein, F.W.H. German Engravings, Etchings and Woodcuts, c.1400-1700. Volume VII. Amsterdam: M. Hertzberger, 1954-. 98 (Meder a)
Rowlands, J.K. The Graphic Work of Albrecht Dürer: An Exhibition of his Prints and Drawings in Commemmoration of the Quincentenary of his Birth. London: British Museum, 1971. Exhibition catalogue. 89.
Schoch, R., M. Mende and A. Scherbaum. Albrecht Dürer. Das Druckgraphische Werk. Band I: Kupferstiche, Eisenradierungen und Kaltnadelblätter. Munich, London, New York, 2001. 37.
Bartrum, Guilia, ed. Albrecht Dürer and his Legacy - The Graphic Work of a Renaissance Artist / with contributions by Günter Grass, Joseph L. Koerner and Ute Kuhlemann. London: The British Museum Press, 2002. 320 p., ill. ISBN 0714126330. No.83, p.148.
Panofsky, Erwin. The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer. Volume I, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955 (4th edn). p.83.


Paper; Printing ink



Subjects depicted

Women; Mortality; Wings; Skulls; Helmets; Vanitas


Prints; Heraldry


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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