Soldiers with Cannon Gathered outside Village, Circa 16th Century


This 1564 engraving is a print from an original work by the great German artist Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528). It depicts mercenary troops known as Landsknechte, literally “servants of the country,” gathered near a large cannon on a road outside a village in the valley. These figures have been identified as Ottoman Turks, who began to appear with increasing frequency in European engravings of the late 15th–early 16th century, following the capture of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453. The Dürer print includes heraldic symbols of Nuremberg on the cannon, which is meant to imply that this imperial city of the Emperor Maximilian I was prepared to defend itself against invaders from the east. The engraving is from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection at the Brown University Library.

Last updated: December 18, 2013