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Young Bull

A work made of pen and black ink on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of pen and black ink on ivory laid paper.


c. 1496, erroneously inscribed in another hand 1508


Albrecht Dürer
German, 1471–1528

About this artwork

From an early age, Albrecht Dürer displayed an inquisitive mind and exceptional talent as a draftsman. He was born in Nuremberg and first trained as a goldsmith in his father’s shop before apprenticing with the painter Michael Wolgemut. One of his earliest animal drawings, Young Steer shows its subject grazing in an unseen field. The artist’s sure strokes and adept cross-hatching delineate the steer’s sculptural form, with taut skin stretched over a strong yet bony frame. Dürer’s precise draftsmanship recalls the drawings and prints of the celebrated German master Martin Schongauer, whom he greatly admired. This work was probably a study from nature; sketchy lines around the animal’s right hind foot, back, muzzle, and horns reveal that the artist originally drew the steer in a slightly different position, with his mouth open. A masterful engraver who would elevate printmaking to an expressive art form over the course of his career, Dürer employed the steer’s hindquarters for the barnyard scene in his engraving The Prodigal Son amid the Swine (1494/96), an impression of which is in the Art Institute.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Albrecht Dürer


Young Bull


Germany (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Pen and black ink on ivory laid paper


17.5 × 14 cm (6 15/16 × 5 9/16 in.)

Credit Line

Clarence Buckingham Collection

Reference Number


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