Friday, May 1, 2015


               Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) was a renowned artist, engraver and painter who lived in Nuremberg in Germany. His famous works include ‘St. Sebastian at the Column’, ‘Young Hare’ and ‘The Praying Hands.’ There is a very popular story behind the creation of ‘The Praying Hands’.
              Albrecht Durer worked with his close friend, Franz Knigstein in Nuremberg. They aspired deeply to study the art of painting. But being very poor they had to work hard and could not find time or money to fulfil their cherished dreams. Finally they found a solution to their problem. They decided that one of them should work and earn money to support both of them while the other would study. When he becomes a rich and successful artist, he would in turn support his friend to pursue his studies. They tossed a coin and Albrecht won. He went to study in the famous art schools in European cities while his friend, Franz Knigstein started manual work to support them. He had to toil hard in a blacksmith’s workshop for several years.
              When Albrecht returned after completing his studies, he was shocked to find that his friend’s sensitive fingers had become bruised, calloused, deformed, gnarled, stiffened and twisted by years of hard manual labour.  Kingstein’s fingers were now unfit to perform the delicate brush strokes necessary for fine painting. But Kingstein was not worried or depressed. He rejoiced sincerely at his friend’s success in his career. One day Albrecht Durer witnessed with great grief, his friend praying with his folded hands. As a mark of gratitude and affection, he painted his friend’s ruined hands, displaying the gnarled fingers, worn and torn with toil, intertwined in prayer, displaying the wrinkles and other signs of hard manual labour.
              The painting displayed the silent and selfless sacrifice of a true friend who was loving and loyal and was ready to suffer for the benefit of his loving friend. This famous painting is thus an eloquent memento of lofty love, brotherhood, friendship, gratitude and sacrifice.
              The Holy Bible teaches, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.” Jesus Christ taught, “My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them”

© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Former Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India, Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally,  Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School, Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Alfeen Public School, Kanjirappally, Kerala, India. 
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1 comment:

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