The Elements of Drawing, John Ruskin’s teaching collection at Oxford

The Elements of Drawing, John Ruskin’s teaching collection at Oxford

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The Patron Saints of Austria Albrecht Dürer

  • Curator’s description:


    Trimmed to within the border, approximately 4mm missing at the top and bottom and 2mm at left and right. Faded and dirty. A series of large tears have been repaired on the upper left edge, above Saint Severinus's head, between Saints Poppo and Otto, and running from the inscription below Saint Poppo to the middle of Saint Otto's chest. A rectangular section comprising the left half of Poppo's alb and the inscription beneath his feet has been replaced with a fragment from another impression. The print has been inlaid into a pale brown mount printed with a double border on the inside and outside edges; this has then been laid down onto a sheet of heavy grey laid paper (trimmed away on the left and right edges of the mount).

    The print depicts eight saints associated with Austria, each identified by the inscription at their feet. They are, from left to right: Saint Quirinus, archbishop of Lorch, in his episcopal robes and holding a book and crozier; Saint Maximilian, in episcopal robes, holding a crozier, sword and martyr's palm; Saint Florian, wearing armour and holding a lance with a banner and a shield, both bearing a cross; Saint Severinus, dressed as an abbot and holding his abbot's staff and a bible open at John I.1-2; Saint Colman of Stockerau, dressed as a pilgrim, holding his pilgrim's staff and a noose; Saint Leopold III, dressed as a king, holding a sceptre and a shield which appears to bear the arms of Austria (gules a fess argent) quartered with his own (azure five eagles displayed or); Saint Poppo, in episcopal robes and carrying a crozier; and Saint Otto of Freising, again dressed as a bishop and carrying a crozier and a book. The print originally depicted only the six saints on the left, cut by Dürer in 1515; the two right-hand saints were added two years later by Springinklee: the print's composite nature is clear from the original block, preserved in the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin. The absence of the 46 lines of Latin verse which were originally printed below the saints, and the irregularities in the haloes of Saints Severinus, Colman, Leopold and Poppo indicate that the state is 2.e or later (the inaccessibility of the watermark and fact that the borders are missing makes the precise state impossible to determine).

    Ruskin first catalogued the print in 1872, as no. 70 in the Rudimentary Series, one of the series of Dürers in the second section of the third cabinet in the Rudimentary Series (devoted to 'Greek and Mediæval design'). It remained in the same position in his 1878 rearrangement of the series, where Ruskin described how the print displayed Dürer's 'very highest qualities', and his abilities at portraying old men (as opposed to women or angels); every student was to copy saint Florian or one of the bishops. These are similar to the views he expressed on the print in Modern Painters (vol. V, pt ix, ch. 8, § 15 = VII.371-2), where he also reproduced the figure of Saint Quirinus (vol. V, fig. 100 = VII f.p. 372) - although, as the left border is clearly visible in the reproduction, probably not from this impression.

  • Details

    Albrecht Dürer (1471 - 1528) (block cutter)
    Hans Springinklee (c. 1495 - after 1522) (block cutter)
    Object type
    Material and technique
    woodcut on laid paper
    172 x 360 mm (print; sight size); 272 x 412 mm (mount)
    In the print, in woodcut, under their respective saints, from left to right:
    S.Quirinus Archiepisco.|pus Lauriacensis Deinde | Patriarcha Aquilegien.|sis martyr
    S.Maximilianus Ar.|chiepiscopus Lauriacen.|sis Martyr
    S Florianus Tribun[us]| militum:martyr lau.|riaci passus
    S Seuerinus post Atti.|lam regem hunorum de.|functum secundarius | Austrie apostolus
    S.Coloma[n]nus Martyr | apud Stokbarau passus
    S.Leopoldus Princeps | pius Marchio austrie
    S. Poppo Marchio ori.|entalis Archiepisco.|pus Treuerensis
    S.Otto Marchio orien.|talis Episcopus | Frisingensis
    In the book held by Saint Severinus, John I.1-2: In principio er|at verbum & verbum erat | apud Deu[m] & De|us erat verbu[m] Hoc erat i[n] prin·|cipio apud Deu[m]

    On the mount, in graphite:
    Recto, bottom centre: 2
    Verso, bottom left corner (recent): B116 | H 219 I
    Just to the right (recent): Rud 70
    Bottom right, the Ruskin School's stamp

    Presented by John Ruskin to the Ruskin Drawing School (University of Oxford), 1875; transferred from the Ruskin Drawing School to the Ashmolean Museum, c.1949.

    No. of items
    Accession no.
  • Subject terms allocated by curators:


  • References in which this object is cited include:


    Schoch, Rainer, Mende, Matthias, and Scherbaum, Anna, Albrecht Dürer: das druckgraphische Werk, 3 (Munich/London/New York: Prestel, 2001-2004), no. 237/2

    Meder, Josef, Dürer-Katalog, ein handbuch über Albrecht Dürers stiche, radierungen, Holzschnitte, deren zustände, ausgaben und wasserzeichen (Wien: Gilhofer & Ranschburg, 1932), no. 219

    Bartsch, Adam von, Le Peintre Graveur, 21 vols (Vienna: J. von Degen, 1803-1821), cat. vol. VII, p. 140, no. 116

    Ruskin, John, The Ruskin Art Collection at Oxford: Catalogue of the Rudimentary Series, in the Arrangement of 1873, ed. Robert Hewison (London: Lion and Unicorn Press, 1984), cat. Rudimentary no. 70, RUD.070

    Hollstein, F. W. H., German Engravings Etchings and Woodcuts, ca. 1400 - 1700 (Amsterdam: Menno Hertzberger, 1954-), cat. vol. VII, p. 175, no. 219

    Bartsch, Adam von, The Illustrated Bartsch, founding editor Walter L. Strauss, general editor John T. Spike (New York: Abaris Books, 1978-), no. 1001.316

    Ruskin, John, Instructions in Practice of Elementary Drawing, Arranged with Reference to the First Series of Examples in the Drawings Schools of the University of Oxford (n.p., [1872]), cat. Rudimentary no. 70

    Ruskin, John, Instructions in the Preliminary Exercises Arranged for the Lower Drawing-School (London: Smith, Elder, 1872), cat. Rudimentary no. 70

    Ruskin, John, Instructions in the Preliminary Exercise Arranged For the Lower Drawing-School (London: Spottiswoode, 1873), cat. Rudimentary no. 70

    Ruskin, John, ‘Rudimentary Series 1878’, 1878, Oxford, Oxford University Archives, cat. Rudimentary no. 70

    Ruskin, John, ‘The Ruskin Art Collection at Oxford: Catalogues, Notes and Instructions’, Edward T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, eds, The Works of John Ruskin: Library Edition, 39 (London: George Allen, 1903-1912), 21, cat. Rudimentary no. 70

    Ruskin, John, ‘Modern Painters’, Edward T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, eds, The Works of John Ruskin: Library Edition, 39 (London: George Allen, 1903-1912), 3-7


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