Praying Hands (Dürer)

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Praying Hands
German: Betende Hände
Betende Hände
Artist Albrecht Dürer
Year c. 1508
Type Drawing
Dimensions 29.1 cm × 19.7 cm (11.5 in × 7.8 in)
Location Albertina, Vienna

Praying hands (German: Betende Hände), also known as Study of the Hands of an Apostle (Studie zu den Händen eines Apostels), is a pen-and-ink drawing by the German printmaker, painter and theorist Albrecht Dürer. The work is today stored at the Albertina museum in Vienna, Austria. Dürer created the drawing using the technique of white heightening and black ink on (self-made) blue colored paper. The drawing shows a close up of two male hands clasped together praying. Also, the partly rolled up sleeves are seen.

The drawing is a sketch (study) for hands of an apostles who was planned to occupy the central panel of the triptych in installed in Frankfurt titled the Heller Altarpiece, which was later destroyed by a fire in 1729.[1] The sketched hands appear on the triptych on the right side of the central panel, and although the detail appears very similar, it is smaller in size in the triptych.

The drawing also once contained a sketch of the apostle's head, but the sheet with the head has been separated from it. Overall, Dürer made 18 sketches for the altarpiece.[2] The first public recognition of the artwork was in 1871 when it was exhibited in Vienna, and the image is thought probably to depict Dürer's own hands.[3] [4]

In popular culture[edit]

The 2015 Drake album If You're Reading This It's Too Late includes a stylized version of the Dürer original on the album cover.[5] The cover of the 2013 Dean Blunt album The Redeemer includes a similarly stylized version.

In Ronald Harwood's The Dresser, after Norman applies make up to "Sir"'s hands, he states, "There! Albert Durer couldn't have done better."[6]

In 2011 Pavlos Tsakonas, student at the Athens School Of Fine Arts, made a graffiti mural based on Dürer's original drawing.[7] The mural is on the side of a 10-story building in the center of Athens, at Peiraios 20 street. The version is altered to have the hands pointing downwards.


  1. ^ Robert Perry Hardison (Barefoot): "Dürer". Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  2. ^ (in German) Die Welt "Wie Albrecht Dürer die Betenden Hände erfand", 24 December 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  3. ^ (in German) Kultur: "Dürers „Betende Hände“ Tausendmal kopiert", 22 November 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  4. ^ (in German) Theophil-online, ökumenische Online-Zeitschrift: "Call God - Materialien für einen alternativen Zugang zum Thema Gebet im Religionsunterricht - 2.3.5. Variationen zu Albrecht Dürers Betende Hände", Gerd Buschmann 2002. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  5. ^ "Drake's "6 God" Art Was Inspired by a Dead German Painter" 15 March 2015. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  6. ^ Harwood, Ronald (1982-01-01). The Dresser. Samuel French, Inc. ISBN 9780573608438. 
  7. ^ "H προσευχή του Ντύρερ σε τοιχογραφία κτιρίου στην Ομόνοια | Athens Street Art". Flickr - Photo Sharing!. Retrieved 2016-06-29.