Landscape with a shaded cliff
Transferred from Cambridge University Library 1876
At the time that Altdorfer made his nine landscape etchings, pure landscape was an entirely new subject for printmaking. He had already made some pure landscape drawings, perhaps influenced by those drawn by his Danube School colleague, Wolf Huber, but his breakthrough was to realise that etching could provide an equivalent way of making drawings as prints, with a freedom and lightness of touch well suited to his exuberant expression of natural forms. Altdorfer also made at least two pure landscape paintings, one of which is in the National Gallery, London.
These prints are very rare and may have been made just for distribution among the artist's acquaintances. Only five other impressions of this etching are known. It entered the Fitzwilliam Museum's collection as part of an album transferred from Cambridge University Library in 1876. This album contained an extensive collection of Altdorfer's work, including one of the world's largest holdings of the rare etchings of metal vessels and six landscapes.