The Submersion of Pharaoh’s Army in the Red Sea, printed from 12 blocks on a dozen joined sheets of laid paper, measures 7ft 3in (2.22m) across.
Completed c.1514-15 during the War of the League of Cambrai, the scene was one of great contemporary relevance to any Venetian.
The Egyptians, dressed in 16th century armour as they are engulfed by the waves, were intended to recall the army of German mercenaries that threatened the existence of the Venetian Republic.
A defecating dog positioned below the outstretched arm of Moses (see detail right), underlines the artist’s distain for the invaders.
In her book Grand Scale: Monumental Prints in the Age of Dürer and Titian, Suzanne Boorsch, curator of prints and drawings at the Yale University Art Gallery, called this woodcut “the most audacious print ever made”. This evenly printed impression, having survived almost exactly 500 years in remarkably good condition, more than doubled hopes at $620,000/£477,000 (plus buyer’s premium).