Albrecht Dürer

Marcantonio Raimondi

The Visitation, 1503–05

Woodblock print

The Visitation, c.1506


Albrecht Dürer’s (1471–1528) The Visitation dates from around 1503-1505, and was one of a series of seventeen woodcuts based on the Life of the Virgin. Dürer was a highly skilled artist who travelled widely, met many well-known artists and became well-versed in a range of media, but he was particularly adept at drawing and engraving. When he established his first studio in Nuremberg in 1495 at the age of 24, his work was in high demand, so he developed several lines of woodcuts that could be sold in higher volume. Woodcuts were considered inferior to engravings, but Dürer’s workshop developed a means of production that generated prints of such high quality that the medium achieved almost equal status.

The Visitation illustrates an encounter in Luke 1:39-56, in which a pregnant Mary visits Elizabeth, the soon-to-be mother of John the Baptist. In the Bible the meeting occurs in Judea, but Dürer used drawings he made on a journey through the Alps to displace the scene to ‘present day’ Europe, the site of his primary market. Marcantonio Raimondi (1480–1534) bought The Visitation and a number of Dürer’s other prints in a market in St.Mark’s Square in Venice. Also a skilled draftsman, Raimondi made copies of Dürer’s woodblocks as engravings and sold them to make a living. On finding out about Raimondi’s replicas, Dürer went to Venice and complained to the Signoria, who reprimanded Raimondi but only instructed him to remove Dürer’s signature from his prints, allowing him to retain the design. This is thought to be one of the earliest examples of an artist asserting intellectual copyright. Untitled contained a print by each of the two men.

Exhibited in:

Loaned by:


The Tetley, Leeds (24 Sept 2019 → 19 Jan 2020)

The Whitworth Art Gallery

Oxford Road, Manchester