The Story of Praying Hands

THE STORY BEHIND THE PICTURE OF THE PRAYING HANDS 

Praying HandsBack in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived

a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food
on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a
goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade
and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of the elder children,
Albrecht and Albert, had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their
talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be
financially able to send either of them

to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two
boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would
go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his
brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won
the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the
other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or,
if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer
won the toss and went off to Nuremberg.

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four
years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an
immediate sensation. Albrecht’s etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils
were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he
graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his
commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held
a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht’s triumphant
homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and
laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the
table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice
that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words
were, “And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn.
Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream,

and I will take care of you.”

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where
Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head
from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over,

“No …no….no ..no.”

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced
down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands
close to his right cheek, he said softly, “No, brother. I cannot go to
Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look … look what four years in the
mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed
at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly
in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast,
much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush.

 No, brother ….for me it is too late.”

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer’s hundreds of
masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, water colors,
charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great
museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people,
are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer’s works. More than merely
being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in
your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed,
Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother’s abused hands with palms
together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful
drawing simply “Hands,” but the entire world almost immediately opened
their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love
“The Praying Hands.”
The next time you see a copy of that touching creation,

take a second look.

Let it be your reminder,

that no one – no one  – ever makes it alone!

*******************************************

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About Dick and Danna

Resume for Dick Vernon, PHD (Possess Highschool Diploma) I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. I am a strong conservative politically. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row. I make women swoon with my sensuous steel guitar playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru. Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I’m bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, I repair computerized aircraft panels free of charge. I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don’t perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. Ihave been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat .400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me. I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations with the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On week- ends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven. I have given Rachel Ray and Emirile cooking lessons. I breed prize-winning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performe open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis many times when I taught him how to play guitar.. But I have not yet gone to college. ——————————————————- Resume for: Danna Vernon I put up with Dick Vernon. Doesn’t that say it all?
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