This engraving is one of the best executed in comparison with the artist's earlier efforts. Here the chiaroscuro (light and shade) treatment of form predominates, while the artist has attained a hitherto unseen mastery in his use of the burin.The subject is drawn from the legend of St Eustace: while out hunting, the Roman general Placidas, was chasing a large stag when he unexpectedly discovered a crucifix between its antlers and heard a voice foretelling that he would suffer for his faith in Christ. The stunned Placidas was immediately converted to Christianity and baptised in the name Eustachius (Eustace). Deviated from the established legend (Placidas is supposed to have fallen from his horse), Dürer depicted the Roman going down on one knee with a gesture expressing awed astonishment at the miracle. Dürer himself considered this engraving one of his most significant works, saying so much in his diary of his journey to the Netherlands: "Antwerp, 3 June. I presented the King of Denmark with my best engravings that included St Eustace."
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