Rhinoceros by DurerEarly Europeans never saw a rhino. The rhinocerous was only known by brief verbal accounts told by wayfaring adventurers. Albrecht Durer originally created the first woodcut of the mysterious rhino in 1515. This particular version is by a later artist, Hieronymus Bock, based on Durer's original. It is commonly called "Durer's Rhino". Durer based the vintage rhino image on a written description and quick sketch from another early unknown artist, and never really saw the live rhino. This was the first example of a Rhino drawing in Europe.
The vintage Rhino woodcut is wonderfully inaccurate; the hard plates resemble real armor with a breastplate, rivets, and gorget that kind of looks like a human knight's armor. The rhinoceros woodcut was copied by many other artists through the ages, and these inaccuracies were repeated through three centuries.
Hieronymus Bock's RhinoAbout This Vintage Rhino Print
This particular Rhino image was made in 1546 by Hieronymus Bock. Bock's Rhino engraving is characterized by a printing block that was broken, resulting in a horizontal line that runs across the later prints. This one is a color copy of the Bock Rhino, printed in the 1580 French edition of the Cosmographia,which attempted to eliminate the line by overpainting.