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8 Rereading Dürer’s Representations of the Fall of Man

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses the animals and their meaning in Dürer's representations of the Fall. Much has been written on Dürer's animals, mostly according to Erwin Panofsky's seminal and authoritative, but rather restrictive interpretations. In order to shed new light on this field, the chapter offers a reconsideration of Dürer's animals surrounding Adam and Eve. It focuses on Dürer's six representations of the Fall. The chapter analyses the representation, not of man, but of the animals and their meaning. Dürer has represented eight animals in this engraving, including the serpent, an elk passing behind Adam, a cat and a mouse at the feet of Adam and Eve, and a hare and an ox facing each other; in the Tree of Life there is a parrot, or rather a Ring-necked parakeet, to be precise; and on the top of the rock there is an ibex or chamois.

Keywords: Dürer's representations; Erwin Panofsky

10.1163/9789004279179_010
/content/books/b9789004279179_010
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