Odysseus & Circe

Hartmann Schedel (1440–1514).
Liber chronicarum.
Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 12 July 1493. (06634)

Even before Dürer departed on his Wanderjahre in 1490, Michael Wolgemut’s workshop was producing the most extensively illustrated book of the fifteenth century, the Liber chronicarum, or “Nuremberg Chronicle.” Scholars seeking to identify illustrations that might have been contributed by Dürer often point to the striking woodcut that depicts Odysseus rescuing his seafarers from the sorcery of Circe, who had turned the men into animals. This woodcut, the only mythological scene included in the book, stands out both for its fine quality and its independent style, and is therefore convincingly attributed to Wolgemut’s famous apprentice.