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Shield with a Unicorn, Held by a Lady

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.




Martin Schongauer
German, c. 1430/50-1491

About this artwork

In contrast to the wild man, woman, and child seen nearby (1956.917 and 1944.608), this engraving portrays a member of civilization. Only virgins were said to be able to attract and tame unicorns; by including the mythical beast in the shield, Schongauer emphasized the subject’s purity. Later Northern European artists such as Albrecht Dürer would frequently feature this type of grassy bench in depictions of tender moments between the Virgin Mary and Christ Child.


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Prints and Drawings


Martin Schongauer


Shield with a Unicorn, Held by a Lady


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.



Engraving in black on ivory laid paper


7.6 × 7.6 cm (3 × 3 in.)

Credit Line

Clarence Buckingham Collection

Reference Number


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