Stumbled upon this real life story about two brothers and decided to share. I hope it inspires you as it has done to me.
In the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, Germany, there was a family with eighteen children. (Eighteen same as the Wesley’s! that’s a lot and I wonder how they got to feed and live)… But In order to provide for his kids, Albrecht Dürer the Elder the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked eighteen hours a day at his trade and got himself engaged in any other job that pay in the neighborhood.
Despite the bleak future, two of Albrecht the Elder’s children had a dream. They were skillful and both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but knew it was almost pipe dream fully aware that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.
Various discussions were held between them often at night in their crowded bed. The two boys finally worked out a pact. They agreed to toss a coin through which they would determine who will attend the academy. The loser would work in the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. After which the brother who won the toss will take turn to assist the other either by artwork sales or working in the mines if necessary.
One fateful Sunday morning after church, the coin was tossed and Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to study at the academy. Albert worked in the dangerous mines and for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was immediate sensation. Albrecht’s etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was earning considerable fees for his commissioned works.
On his return to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht’s successful completion. After the long celebration, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. As he ended his speech, he said “And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you.”
Everyone turned in expectation to where Albert was sitting but where shocked to see tears streaming down his face, his head bowed and was sobbing repeatedly saying “No…no..no..no….”
After much persuasion, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. Looking at all, he said softly, “No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. 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.”
One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer drew his brother’s scarred hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply “Hands,” but the world on hearing the story opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love “The Praying Hands.”
More than 4 and the half centuries after, great museums in the world today all have hundreds of Albrecht Durer’s masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hanging on their walls.
But even when you not a collector of art works, I’m very certain you are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer’s works which is the praying hands.
The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, THAT NO ONE EVER MAKES IT ALONE.