The original painting created around 1519 and preserved in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (oil on panel, 60 × 49.8 cm (23.6 × 19.6 in), inventory number 14.40.633) belonged to Gabriel Tucher of Nuremberg, a member of a family of passionate collectors of art. In 1630 it was purchased by Elector Maximilian I of Bavaria and held at the castle of Schleissheim until the mid-nineteenth century. The subsequent repainting and the poor state of preservation devalued the work, which was sold at auction as a copy of Dürer. According to Bayersdorfer the Warsaw's copy could have been produced as a condition of sale during the transactions that led to Elector's acquisition of the work in 1630, although the date, 1523, is not questionable.
Albertina in Vienna holds a preparatory drawing for the figure of St. Anne (1519), painted in brush with gray highlights on dark background. In 1519 Dürer became an ardent follower of Martin Luther, hence the composition is interpreted as inspired by his teachings and possibly by Giovanni Bellini, whose work Dürer admired during his sojourn in Venice.
The artist's wife, Agnes Frey, is considered as a model for Saint Anne's effigy. Agnes, then in her fifties, was dressed according to contemporary fashion reserved for married women. Her figure, monumental and reassuring, dominates the picture and the scene. Her face is vigilant and protective, her hand resting on the shoulder of her daughter Mary. The face of the Virgin is sweet and absorbed by contemplation of sleeping Child. Baby Jesus is wrapped in swaddling clothes and portrayed realistically with open mouth showing two teeth. The whole scene is intended as a premonition of Christ's Passion and death.
The composition with the heads of the two women inclined towards each other was set in a triangle and concentrates on hands clasped in prayer.
Less studied and less gentle then the original version, suggest that the Warsaw painting was accomplished by disciples. In the 19th century it belonged to Sir Francis Cook (1817-1901) and in 1984 it was acquired from Sotheby's by the Porczyńskis.
oil on panel, 1523, 75 × 64.5 cm (29.5 × 25.4 in), Muzeum Kolekcji im. Jana Pawła II (Galeria Porczyńskich)
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