KNIGHT, DEATH AND THE DEVIL
It is one of the three Dürer's 'master prints'. There are many interpretations of the engraving. For some, the knight was a servant of the Devil. But most researchers link the picture with the treatise written by young Erasmus of Rotterdam: Handbook of a Christian Soldier. It speaks about a dedicated, fearless and devoted warrior defeating the forces of evil. There are no symbols of Christianity in the engraving but Dürer's contemporaries saw the knight as a fighter for the pureness of the Church and a defender of the Christian faith. He is accompanied by a dog – symbol of truth, by the Devil – symbol of temptation, and by the death with an hourglass, reminding about the fragility of life. The level of sand in the hourglass shows that the knight has still enough time to accomplish his feat. At the same time, the main character is a hunter; the oak leaves on the head and the tail of the horse, according to the tradition, guarantee his safe return from his hunting. The foxtail on the rider's spear may be considered his trophy. On the whole, the researchers consider this engraving to be the symbol of active life.