Dürer was a leading artist of the Renaissance in Germany. St. Eustace, his largest engraving, dramatizes the moment the Roman general Placidus converted to Christianity. Out hunting one day, Placidus came upon a deer bearing a crucifix in its antlers. When the deer spoke in God’s voice, Placidus immediately converted and was baptized as Eustace. Regarded even by Dürer as a showpiece, St. Eustace demonstrates his technical mastery of the burin—the tool used to incise lines into the metal plate when making an engraving. Dürer elaborately depicts the scene’s foliage, splintering trees, and human and animal figures through minutely rendered fine lines and realistic three-dimensional modeling. Circulating widely in Europe, engravings such as St. Eustace helped establish Dürer’s early reputation as a gifted artist.
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