Saint Eustace

Artist: Anselm Kiefer (German, born Donaueschingen, 1945)

Date: 1974

Medium: Watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil on paper

Dimensions: 8 1/8 x 10 5/8in. (20.6 x 27cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Gift of Cynthia Hazen Polsky, in memory of her father, Joseph H. Hazen, 2000

Accession Number: 2000.96.4

Rights and Reproduction: © Anselm Kiefer


In this drawing Kiefer refers to the legend of Saint Eustace, a second-century A.D. Christian martyr who is the subject of a famously large and meticulously detailed engraving by Albrecht Dürer (Saint Eustace, ca. 1500-1501, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fletcher Fund, 1919 (19.73.65). According to his legend, Eustace was a noble officer in the army of the Roman emperor Trajan, who, while hunting one day, encountered a stag. This magnificent animal bore a crucifix between his antlers and addressed the soldier in the name of Christ, converting Eustace to Christianity. Basing his image of the stag on photographs he took of a reindeer he saw during a trip to Norway in 1974, Kiefer replaces the crucifix with a radiant painter's palette.