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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, case EL, shelf 82, box C

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: 21.8 cm, Width: 15.7 cm

Descriptive line

'Coat-of-Arms with a Skull' or 'Coat-of-Arms of Vanitas', engraving, Albrecht Dürer, Germany, 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.
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.
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.


Paper; Printing ink



Subjects depicted

Women; Mortality; Wings; Skulls; Helmet; Vanitas


Prints; Heraldry


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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