The sea monster

Dürer calls this work Das Meerwunder, the Sea Monster. In the past, critics were enthusiastic about finding a mythological source within the composition, not entirely justifiable, even as the Rape of Amymone. The engraving, of around 1498, has vague quotations from works by Mantegna and Peregrino da Cesena, reflecting the influences of Dürer'sfirst trip to Italy. The success of some parts of this work can be found in many Italian paintings and engravings. Vasari quotes in the Giuntina edition: «et in un rame maggiore intagliò una ninfa portata via da un mostro marino, mentre alcun’altre Ninfe si bagnano» (Translation: and in a larger copper plate he engraved a nymph being abducted by a sea monster, while some other nymphs were bathing).


The artwork is currently on the display in the exhibition “The civilization of weapons and the Courts of the Renaissance”.



Albrecht Dürer

(Nuremberg 1471 -1528)


The sea monster


c. 1498


Copper engraving


mm 254x189 (plate)

Signed bottom centre, paper with watermark


Museo Battaglia Anghiari - Donation Bagnobianchi