Whether the young Darer's stay at Basel was long or short, or whether, as has been supposed, he travelled from there into the Low Countries, it is certain that in the early part of 1494 he was working at Strassburg, and returned to his home at Nuremberg immediately after Whitsuntide in that year.
Chronological and other proofs show that if such a suit was fought at all, it must have been in connexion with another set of Darer's woodcuts, the first seventeen of the Life of the Virgin.
Other causes, of which we have explicit record, were an outbreak of sickness at Nuremberg; Darer's desire, which in fact was realized, of finding a good market for the proceeds of his art; and the prospect, also realized, of a commission for an important picture from the German community settled at Venice, who had lately caused an exchange and warehouse - the Fondaco de' Tedeschi - to be built on the Grand Canal, and who were now desirous to dedicate a picture in the church of St Bartholomew.
Of all Darer's works, it is the one in which he most deliberately rivalled the combined splendour and playfulness of certain phases of Italian art.
The most satisfying of Darer's paintings done in Venice are the admirable portrait of a young man at Hampton Court (the same sitter reappears in the "Feast of Rose Garlands"), and two small pieces, one the head of a brown Italian girl modelled and painted with real breadth and simplicity, formerly in the collection of Mr Reginald Cholmondeley and now at Berlin, and the small and very striking little "Christ Crucified" with the figure relieved against the night sky, which is preserved in the Dresden Gallery and has served as model and inspiration to numberless later treatments of the theme.
The source of the traditions to her discredit is to be found in a letter written a few years after Darer's death by his life-long intimate, Willibald Pirkheimer, who accuses her of having plagued her husband to death by her meanness, made him overwork himself for money's sake, and given his latter days no peace.
No doubt there must have been some kind of foundation for Pirkheimer's charges; and it is to be noted that neither in Darer's early correspondence with this intimate friend, nor anywhere in his journals, does he use any expressions of tenderness or affection for his wife, only speaking of her as his housemate and of her helping in the sale of his prints,&c. That he took her with him on his journey to the Netherlands shows at any rate that there can have been no acute estrangement.
In 1513 and 1514 appeared the three most famous of Darer's works in copper-engraving, "The Knight and Death" (or simply "The Knight," as he himself calls it, 1513), the "Melancolia" and the "St Jerome in his Study" (both 1514).