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The Monstrous Sow of Landser

A work made of engraving in black on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of engraving in black on ivory laid paper.




Albrecht Dürer
German, 1471-1528

About this artwork

Just as he never saw the rhinoceros he portrayed in another woodcut, Albrecht Dürer never witnessed the female pig born at Landser in Germany in 1496 with two conjoined bodies. He did very likely read about it in a broadsheet with a rudimentary woodcut and a more extensive text description. His surprisingly realistic rendering of how the unseen pig—which died soon after birth—might have looked is similarly convincing but inaccurate. While the engraving does not insist on a religious interpretation, misbirths and other unusual natural occurrences were interpreted as signs during this period, either of the imminent Apocalypse or the need for new crusades against the Turks.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Albrecht Dürer


The Monstrous Sow of Landser


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.

Made 1496


Engraving in black on ivory laid paper


12.1 × 12.8 cm (4 13/16 × 5 1/16 in.)

Credit Line

Bequest of Mrs. Potter Palmer, Jr.

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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