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Sebastian Brant, Albrecht Dürer and woodcut in Basel

Hauptbau, graphic cabinets / 08.05.–12.09.2021 / Curators: Dr Bodo Brinkmann, Dr Ariane Mensger

500 years ago, on 10 May 1521, the humanist, scholar of law, author and chancery clerk Sebastian Brant died in his native city of Strasbourg.

Brant's life and work are inextricably linked to Basel, where he spent 25 years of his life from 1475 onwards. It was here that his main literary work appeared in print for the first time in 1494: "Das Narrenschiff". The moral satire, written in rhymed verse, soon became a bestseller in early printing through translations and new editions and is one of the most widely received and influential works of the early modern period.

The close interlocking of text and image was innovative, for which more than 100 woodcuts were made according to Brant's ideas. He also seems to have had an active influence on the design of the illustrations for other book projects. Due to their high quality, some of them are associated with Albrecht Dürer's early work and are regarded as evidence of a presumed stay of the young artist in Basel.

The anniversary provides a welcome occasion to explore the related questions in a presentation with selected objects from the holdings of the Kunstmuseum Basel.