“The Landscape with the Satire Family,” Albrecht Altdorfer – overview of the painting

“The Landscape with the Satire Family,” Albrecht Altdorfer – overview of the painting
“The Landscape with the Satire Family,” Albrecht Altdorfer - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Albrecht Altdorfer
  • Museum: Berlin Art Gallery
  • Year: 1507

Overview of the painting :

Landscape with the Satira family – Albrecht Altdorfer. 1507. Wood, butter. 23 x 20 cm

   German artist and master of engraving of the turn of the XV-XVI centuries. Albrecht Altdorfer became famous mainly for his works on religious and historical subjects. The presented panel is a completely different plot layer, which is very popular among the masters of that time (both in painting and in literature): the lives of people and half-people half-bastards against the background of the natural landscape. Sometimes creators turned to the mythological subjects of Greece, and sometimes they invented stories themselves, making satiers and other semi-human beings the main characters. This is the fantasy of the painting “Peyzage with the Satire Family”, written in 1507.

   On the canopy of the cliff, overgrown with trees and grass, the viewer sees the Satir family. The head of the family is a dark-skinned man with goat legs. A naked blonde is pouring towards him, supporting the baby, who is in the dark standing on her hip. And in the next meadow, a little far away, another scene unfolds – a woman in a red dress is captured by no less colorful character than satiers, a naked man. The poor thing is trying to dodge and run away from tenacious hands, but the naked character holds the girl either by the dress or by the shoulder with a dead grip. The most interesting thing is that the Satirov family does not pay attention to what is happening near them.

   When considering this work, you should pay attention to two aspects at once: the image of nature and the image of people and satires. Researchers note: it seems that Altdorfer was inspired by the landscapes of the Byzantine school, namely Giorgione. Although it is completely unknown whether the painter was in Venice. The original is very small, and we can say that the author worked in innovative miniature technology.

   The heroes in the picture look somewhat disproportionate – it is worth carefully considering the satire’s wife: the head is too small for such massive shoulders.

   The picture is sometimes called the “Satire Family”, but this is not entirely accurate. It is the long name “Landscape with the Satir family” that conveys the most complete plan of the artist, because it was nature that the author gave the leading role.

   The picture refers to the early works of Altdorfer, and one of the first that the artist signed, taking as a basis the famous monogram of another painter, Albrecht Durer.

   Over its long history, the picture managed to visit several collectors until it was put up for sale in 1874. The famous Berlin Gallery became the lucky owner.