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Albrecht Durer’s Knots – part 1

In my other world (as opposed to my needlework world), I am a middle school math teacher.  And I only bring this up today because it is relevant to the story I am telling.

Some of you may already have known about the math side of me.  Some of you may have already seen some of that come out in the sometimes (but certainly not always) geometric nature of some of my designs.  A number of years ago, I became more and more interested in the cross section between math and art, on an intellectual, scholarly level.  I applied for some grant money to attend a conference and to purchase some books and materials.  It has been a topic that has stayed with me in many ways.

At that time, I came across an image in one of my books that just struck me dumb:

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That book said that it was an engraving “after Leonardo da Vinci”, partially because of the words in the center.  Pursuing that angle, I pretty quickly learned that it was not, in fact, by da Vinci, but rather the artist, Albrecht Durer.  In some places he was listed as a student of daVinci and others as simply a contemporary of him.  I am pretty sure it was my first time hearing his name, although I feel like I’ve encountered Durer many times in the years since.

What I learned is that that “knot” was one of six that Durer created.  As they were prints, there are multiples of each in existence and even some different versions of some – i.e. the same basic knot design, but with the center part altered.  These images come from The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

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Can you imagine where my brain took me?  I evolved the idea that I needed to translate these works of art and math and beauty into needlework of some type.  And so I did.

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There’s more to this story…look for it in my next blog post.

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