chapter  11
16 Pages

Changing Fortunes

Dürer's Nemesis and the Beham Brothers
WithMałgorzata Łazicka

In the early modern period, the image of fortune produced by Albrecht Durer proved particularly prominent and became a source of inspiration for various German artists. As Durer’s Nemesis, Beham’s Fortuna has the bridle, the symbol of temperance, and a fragment of drapery, which actually does not cover any part of her body. The figure of a genius played a significant role in two poems, Landsknechtspiegel and Der Tod zuckt das Stullein, both written by Hans Sachs, a Nuremberg Meistersinger, known for his cooperation with the Beham brothers. The fact that Beham’s personifications of Fortune and Misfortune are dressed is a distinctive feature of both images, which is reflective of medieval imagery rather than Beham’s contemporary style. Nudity, which was introduced by Durer’s Nemesis, is a typical attribute of the majority of the sixteenth-century personifications of good and bad luck.