Study of Apostle’s Hands
Albrecht Durer

(Picture courtesy of Web Gallery of Art at wikipedia commons.)

You may know nothing else about him, but the study of hands by Albrecht Durer is an image that it’s hard to imagine not ever seeing.

The integrity of the work is remarkable.

Betende Hände, in English Praying hands (also known asStudie zu den Händen eines Apostels in German, or “Study of the Hands of an Apostle” is a pen-and-ink drawing by the German printmaker, painter and theorist Albrecht Dürer, executed circa 1508. The artwork is stored at Albertina museum — Graphische Sammlung in Vienna, Austria. Dürer used white heightening technique and black ink on (self-made) blue colored paper. The drawing shows two male hands palm to palm praying, the body to the right (not seen). Also, the partly up-folded sleeves of the prayer are seen.

The drawing is a sketch (study) for an apostles‘ hand who was planned to be in the center panel of the triptych for the Heller altar, which was destroyed by a fire in 1729.[1] The hand sketch appears on the triptych in the inside center panel on the right in similarity, although in smaller size. On the same paper is a sketch of the apostle’s head, but the sheet has been divided from it. Overall, Dürer made 18 sketches for the altarpiece.[2]

The first public recognition of the artwork was in 1871 when it was exhibited in Vienna.[3]

The image depicts probably the master’s own hands.[4]

Studies of the figure they were about to paint were common, and Michelangelo’s drawings are as nearly as well known to us as his major works. His image of creation is the touching of hands, on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

(Picture courtesy of wikipedia commons.)

Michelangelo’s Creation
excerpted hands