Albrecht Dürer: Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513)

(Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA)

Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) was a very famous German painter printmaker. This engraving is one of his most famous work. A mounted knight in plate armour rides though a narrow gorge, accompanied by his dog. Alongside the knight rides Death of a pale horse. Death holds up an hourglass to remind the knight of the shortness of his life. Behind the knight walks the devil. The interpretation of this engraving is not exactly clear. The entire scene could be linked with Psalm 23 from the Bible: "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil". Notice also the fur on the knight's lance. This is a fox's tail - a protective amulet but also a sign of cunning, greed and treachery. Engraving from 1513.