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Praying Hands


DÜRER, Albrecht

(b. 1471, Nürnberg, d. 1528, Nürnberg)


Study of an Apostle's Hands (Praying Hands)

c. 1508

Brush drawing on blue primed paper, 290 x 197 mm

Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna


Several individual studies made for the destroyed altarpiece commissioned by the Frankfurt merchant and councilman Jakob Heller still survive. The so-called Praying Hands were a preliminary study for an apostle. Removed from their original context, they have been viewed as an autonomous work of art and have become enormously popular. In the 19th and 20th centuries in particular, numerous reproductions of the Praying Hands have graced the walls of middle-class homes as an embodiment and symbol of German piety.


Part of article "What is Science?," on

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Taken on August 17, 2008