The Praying Hands
first encounter with this story was many years ago, but its message remains in
my heart up to this date. It’s a story
of the sacrifices made by a brother to fulfill his brother’s dreams.
am sure that we are all can relate to this story because in one way or another
we have also sacrifice something to someone like a parent, brother, sister, husbands,
wife, children, friends or in some cases, if the situation calls for it, we do
it to a person whom we do not know.
all people have the opportunity to sacrifice and not all people are willing to
me share the story behind the masterpiece of Albrecht Dürer, originally
entitled “Hands of the Apostle” which is
now generally known as “The Praying
maybe a fiction, but I can assure you that you will be moved by the message of
In fifteenth century, Albert and
Albrecht Dürer had a dream of pursuing their talent for arts. Belonging in a family composed of eighteen
children, their father worked for eighteen hours just to make both ends meet. And due to financial incapability of their family,
they knew that they have to work for themselves to be able to study at the
academy. After long discussions, the two
made a pact. They will toss a coin. The loser will work at the mine to support the
winner with his earnings while the winner will pursue his studies at the
academy. And after the winner finishes
his studies, it will be his turn to support the studies of the loser.
They tossed the coin. Albrecht won and went off to Nuernberg while
Albert worked at the mines for the next for years. Albrecht became successful in his fields. His sketching, woodcuts and his oil were far
better than most of his seniors works.
Before he graduated, he was already earning for his commissioned works.
When Albrecht returns home, the Dürer
family celebrated his triumphant homecoming.
After the meal, Albrecht proposed a toast for his beloved brother in
appreciation to his years of sacrifices to help him fulfill his dreams, and
closes it with words, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is
your turn. Now you can go to Nuernberg to pursue your dream, and I will take
care of you."
Albert’s tears streaming down his face,
shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed. 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 Nuernberg. 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."
honor and praise to his brother’s sacrifices, Albrecht Dürer painstakingly drew
his brother’s abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched
skyward and called simply “Hands”.