In the year 1525 between Wednesday and Thursday (7 – 8 June) after Whitsunday during the night I saw this appearance in my sleep, how many great waters fell from heaven. The first struck the earth about four miles away from me with a terrific force, with tremendous clamour and clash, drowning the whole land. I was so sore afraid that I awoke from it before the other waters fell. And the waters which had fallen were very abundant. Some of them fell further away, some nearer, and they came down from such a great height that they all seemed to fall with equal slowness. But when the first water, which hit the earth, was almost approaching, it fell with such swiftness, wind and roaring, that I was so frightened when I awoke that my whole body trembled and for a long while I could not come to myself. So when I arose in the morning I painted above here as I had seen it. God turn all things to the best.
Albrecht Dürer (21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528)
Translated in A. Rosenthal, “Dürer’s dream of 1525,” Burlington Magazine 69 (August 1936)
`How often do I see great art in my sleep, but on waking cannot recall it; as soon as I awake, my memory forgets it.’
Albrecht Dürer, Speis der maier knaben (Nourishment for Young Painters), c. 1515