DURER'S HANDS / by Caitlin Murray

one most familiar but strangely recalcitrant item: his own body observed within its surrounding environment

This young artist's first project was to create himself. Through these drawings, an obscure young man from Nuremberg became the singular Albrecht Durer.

a solitary left hand

Durer's sketch of his left hand took only minutes to make. Yet the results are momentous for the history of art. In this informal exploration of the quintessentially near at hand, Durer leaves behind the time-bound subjects and methods that still engage him in the sheet's other sketches, blazing a trail that would lead him to the open and endless possibilities of the empirical world.

Always definitively "ready to hand" it can also easily be posed and manipulated, since the hand (Latin manus) is manipulation's definitive tool. But his hand also eludes him. Whether it finishes at the cuff or carries on up the arm, its portrait ends in a body that can't be observed in its entirety.

[stopped at pp 22]