The Prodigal Son
An engraving of the Prodigal Son, kneeling among swine. The Prodigal Son, who humbly returned to his father, was a personification of the sinner returned to the community of the faithful.
Durer has chosen to portray the moment when the Prodigal Son, working as a swineherd, realizes his sins and resolves to make amends: "And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my fathers have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.' (Luke 15:17-19) Although this is one of Durer's earliest engravings, it shows that the artist had already developed great skill in the technique.