Not many people are aware of this side of the story. While most people associate this design with being religious and perhaps get it inked for the very same reason, there is also this emotional and heartfelt story behind its origin, the crux of which is written above. We shall elaborate on it later in this article.
Tattoo designs of praying hands have a massive appeal among one and all. Apart from displaying the bearer's faith in religion, prayer, and the Lord almighty, many people also associate these designs with remembrance of a dear one after their death. If that is the case, there are usually names and dates inked around the adjoined hands. However, this article is dedicated to the designs that have a religious significance.
Let's continue the story from where we left it. There have been various adaptations and replicas of Albrecht Dürer's painting. Most households have it framed in their houses as a symbol of faith in the Lord. However, the original concept was not religion; it was love, pain, and sacrifice. If you carefully notice the hands in the painting, they seem to be mildly aged, with a problem in the finger joints that are slightly bent. Also, notice the way the hands are joined, as if just touching each other lightly. The story goes something like this ...
Albrecht Dürer belonged to a very poor family. He and his brother Albert both were talented artists, but due to financial difficulties, they knew that their father would not be able to afford sending them both, or even a single child to the academy for studies. Therefore, the two brothers made a pact. They tossed a coin with the intention that whoever wins would go to the academy and learn art, while the other would work in the mines to support his education. After 4 years, when one brother finishes his studies, he would support the other in a similar way. This way, both of them would be able to fulfill their dream of becoming an artist.
Replica of Praying Hands
Replica of Praying Hands
While Albrecht Dürer put in his heart and soul into this opportunity, Albert worked hard day and night in those mines. After 4 years, Albrecht came back to his village and after a festive evening, during dinner, raised a toast for Albert and said these lines in closing, "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." But there sat Albert, with tears streaming down his cheeks, and when all eyes looked at him with respect and anticipation, he held both his hands close to his cheek and said, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. 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."
In honor of his brother's love and sacrifice, Albrecht Dürer created this masterpiece, depicting the pain, sacrifice, humility, and dedication of his brother, and his sincere gratitude to him.
* There are some versions of this story that say that it was Albrecht Dürer's friend who lost the toss and sacrificed to support him, not his brother.
This real-life incidence just tells us of the power of love and dreams. That how a brother willingly went through so much suffering just to ensure his brother's success, thereby, following his own. Therefore, another meaning of this tattoo is unconditional love, sacrifice, and gratitude, which may not only be towards your Lord, but also a dear one.