National Geographic : 1952 Jan
© National Geographic Society 94 National Gallery of Art (Kress Collection) ALBRECHT DiRER (1471-1528), German * Lot and His Daughters About 1500, Niirnberg was the Florence of Germany. Where tle Italian city emphasized beauty, its German counterpart stressed expression. Champion of the Niirnberg School was native Albrecht Diirer, a goldsmith's son. A thinker as well as artist, lie had an insatiable intellectual curiosity. In that respect he rivaled Leonardo and Michelangelo. Italians have said Diirer would have been their greatest artist had he been one of them. The German Goethe wrote, "When we know Diirer, we recognize that in truth, nobility, and even grace, his only equals are the greatest of the Italians." As a painter, Diirer was the most important and gifted of the German School. As an engraver, le was perhaps the greatest of all time. I ls paintings, though original and vigorous, were often marked by stiffness and uninspired color, but his engravings are beyond criticism. In this painting, executed in a free, water-color-like manner, Diirer pictures Lot and his unmarried daughters fleeing Sodom's rain of brimstone (Genesis 19:24). Gomorrah burns in the distance. Lot's wife, turned into a "pillar of salt" for looking back, is left standing on the road. Violent explosions suggest the mushroom effect of an atomic bomb.