The National Museum of Western Art

update 14 September 2021

Currently not on display

Albrecht Dürer [Nürnberg, 1471 - Nürnberg, 1528]

Nemesis (The Great Fortune)

Size (cm)33.1 x 22.9
InscriptionsMonogram lower right: AD; Collector's mark: Stuttgart Kupfenstich MH. R.E.
Standard ref.Bartsch 77; Koehler 33; Dodgson 33; Tietze 196; Meder 72/2; Hollstein 72b (ii/?)
Collection NumberG.1979-0006
Nemesis (The Great Fortune)

Dürer was a leading artist of the German Renaissance known for his paintings, woodcuts, and engravings. Nemesis is the ancient goddess of retribution. The stirrups and chalice she is holding are symbols of discipline and favour respectively. This engraving is based on a literary work. Nemesis is portrayed in sharp profile against an empty white background. The study for this engraving remains in the British Museum. In that drawing, there are traces of squares reflecting Dürer's studies of human proportions following the example set by Vitruvius, whom Dürer learnt about earlier on during a trip to Italy. The landscape underneath Nemesis' feet is a reversed image of the Tyrolese town of Chiuso.(Source: The Degital Gallery. 1999-2006)


Purchased by the NMWA, 1980.

Exhibition History

Resonating Love and Life: European Art from National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, The Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Nagaoka, 12 April 1997 - 18 May 1997, cat. no. 49
Albrecht Dürer: Religion/Portraits/Nature, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 26 October 2010 - 16 January 2011, cat. no. 151
[Prints and Drawings Exhibition] Examining Western Prints – Engraving: Intricate Realms Conjured by the Burin, National Museum of Western Art, Prints and Drawings Gallery, Tokyo, 19 June 2018 - 24 September 2018, cat. no. 2


Giehlow, K. Poliziano und Dürer. Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für vervielfältigende Kunst. vol. 25, 1902, p. 25.
Panofsky, Erwin. Albrecht Dürer. vol. 1, Princeton, Princeton University, 1943., p. 81.
Kauffmann, H. Dürers "Nemesis", Tymbos für Wilheim Ahlmann. Berlin 1951, p. 135.
Annual Bulletin of the National Museum of Western Art. No. 14 (1979), 1981, New Acquisitions (Catalogue). pp. 22-23, repr.

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