Quiz: The Age of Dürer

Test your knowledge about our Dürer exhibition and our collection.

The seal of Nikolaus Esterhazy

The Museum of Fine Arts’ internationally renowned Collection of Prints and Drawings comprises almost 9,000 drawings and 100,000 graphic sheets executed with various techniques. A significant part of this material comes from the collection of Nikolaus II Esterhazy (1765–1833), which first entered the collection of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1870 and later those of the National Picture Gallery and the Museum of Fine Arts. The seal of the princely collection can be seen in many of the graphic sheets displayed at our exhibition: the monogram NE (Nikolaus Esterhazy) and a small crown on top. How many pieces do you think the princely collection comprised at the time of its purchase?

Albrecht Dürer, Adam and Eve, 1504 (detail), 1504, részlet

Where was the father of Albrecht Dürer, the most influential master of the German Renaissance, born and what did he do?

Bohemian master, Saint Margaret, ca. 1410–1415

One of the rare treasures in the Museum of Fine Arts’ collection is this drawing of Saint Margaret, which was originally probably made for a sculpture or as a model sheet. Although the master of this work is unknown, it is likely by a German or Bohemian artist. The delicate draughtsmanship as well as the clarity and the balance of the composition make it a stunning example of International Gothic art.

Do you know what the ornate crown worn by the saint refers to?

Albrecht Dürer, The Four Witches

The title of this sheet, executed in 1497, has a complicated meaning that is still not fully understood. It depicts four naked women standing turned towards one another in a narrow space. There is a skull at their feet and a devil-like creature in the background. In research Dürer’s first dated copper engraving is traditionally linked with the literary work titled Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches), published in 1487. Can you guess what this book with its peculiar title is about?
Albrecht Dürer: Az Apokalipszis négy lovasa, 1497–1498 körül

The young Dürer’s most successful graphic work was the woodcut series of 15 sheets, titled Apocalypse, illustrating the last book of the New Testament, the Revelation to John. Displayed at our exhibition is the most famous sheet of the series, the one depicting the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. According to the description in chapter 6 of the Book of Revelation, the four horsemen each bear a weapon used in the world’s destruction.

The symbols of death and war are obvious but can you guess what the scales in the third horseman’s hand symbolise?

 Albrecht Dürer, Melencolia I, and a detail

The objects, tools and measuring instruments in Dürer’s engraving titled Melencolia I symbolise the disciplines of architecture, geometry and astrology, while the female figure engrossed in thought and the title itself alludes to the theory of the four temperaments, which was extremely popular in the Middle Ages. In the background you can see a magic square called Jupiter’s Square (Sigillum Iovis) with numbers from 1 to 16: the sum of every row, column and diagonal as well as the four squares in the centre and the four squares in the corners is 34. The year the engraving was made in, 1514, appears in the square too.

So when was the engraving Melencolia I made?

Lucas Cranach the Elder, Saint George, ca. 1506

Saint George, the dragon-slayer, was an ideal for medieval knights. His popular legend inspired numerous old and new tales and stories. His cult was given renewed impetus when Emperor Frederick founded the chivalrous Order of Saint George around 1468–1469 in the spirit of combatting the Ottoman incursions. In medieval times the knight Saint George was one of the most often depicted Catholic saints. Do you know what was under the scope of his protection?

In other words, who and what was he a patron saint of?

Your new question!
Jörg Breu the Elder, The Story of Lucretia, ca. 1528

Jörg Breu the Elder’s drawing depicting the story of Lucretia is a preliminary sketch for a painting dated 1528. You can clearly see the perspectival lines in the sheet, which helped the artist to construct depth of space and create a well-organised composition for the crowded scene.

But who was Lucretia and why is her story significant?

Augustin Hirschvogel, Squirrel Hunt with a Crossbow, ca. 1530–1536

Augustin Hirschvogel’s preparatory drawing titled Squirrel Hunt with a Crossbow forms part of a series of 53 hunting scenes that served the basis for decorative stained glass windows. The drawings show the pursuing and capturing of wild animals, such as bears, wolves, deer and fowl and provide a faithful picture of the hunting methods used in the sixteenth century as well as hunters’ attire and weaponry. Do you know why the crossbow was especially efficient compared with the traditional bow?

Hans Hoffmann, Frog, ca. 1582

Hans Hoffmann is an artist whose activity can be linked to scientific naturalism, which developed in the late sixteenth century. His oeuvre contains numerous plant and animal depictions executed with botanical and zoological accuracy. One of the most stunning animal depictions at our exhibition shows an ordinary little animal, an amphibian also indigenous to Hungary. Do you know what species does the frog in the picture belong to?

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