Ritter, Tod,Teufel, und Hund

Okay, so we’ve got some theories about what everyone is up to here

So I got myself a print of Albrecht Dürer’s Ritter, Tod und Teufel, because I thought it was kind of neat.  It came with a handy little sticker explaining what all the various things in the engraving represented, the knight, death, the devil, the armor, and so on.  That led me to do a bit more research, and I see that there are several possible interpretations.  For instance, I see that the print is meant to represent sanguinity, one of the four temprements (I have to admit the knight looks pretty sanguine, all things considered).  Some people say the knight represents Christian faith and humanism, and others that he represents a greedy robber baron.  In this latter interpretation, I’m guessing his armor is not meant to represent his Christian faith like it does in others.

But what I haven’t been able to find any information on, is what is up with that dog?  I mean look at him.  That is one laid-back dog (if anything he is more sanguine that the ol’ Ritter,

But what is up with this dog?

there).  I’ve never seen a dog look so chill and have such a heavy-lidded expression, even ones that aren’t strolling along next to death and the Devil.  Actually, upon closer examination, we see that the horses are just ambling along while the dog is in a full-suspension gallop.  Maybe he’s just passing through.  Like, on the outside he’s calm, but inside he’s thinking “Whoa, man, this is a bad scene.  Better just get on by and not make eye contact with any of these weirdos.”  But this is a writing blog, after all.  We really musn’t get sidetracked worrying about technical details of the dog, gaits and expressions and so on.  Metaphor and simile are our stock and trade as writers.  What is the dog doing allegorically, that’s the question.  Anyone who has any ideas, feel free to let me know.

Next time: and what is going on with that lizard?  Why is the dog ignoring it, for one thing?

~ by smwilliams on July 3, 2012.

4 Responses to “Ritter, Tod,Teufel, und Hund”

  1. This is brilliant. You can do a whole series of posts on these types of drawings.

    Okay, here’s my take: the dog is waiting for death to take out the man, horse and who ever else is in the picture. Why is he waiting? He’s hoping for an easy meal. The lizard is too quick. No sense going after it. 😉

    • So your theory is that the dog is clever as well as laid-back, eh? My hound would never think of playing the long game like that. She is, however, fast enough to have caught a mouse the other day (not Cyril, though word of it has shaken him so that he’s returned to the mailbox).

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