He now became a nude and beardless youth, the type of the young athlete.
There is a sheet at the Louvre of much earlier date than the first idea or commission for this particular picture, containing some nude sketches for the arrangement of the subject; another later and farther advanced, but still probably anterior to the practical commission, at Venice, and a MS. sheet of great interest at the Victoria and Albert Museum, on which the painter has noted in writing the dramatic motives appropriate to the several disciples.
Under Napoleon, of whom in 1806 he made a nude statue now at Dijon, Houdon received little employment; he was, however, commissioned to execute the colossal reliefs intended for the decoration of the column of the "Grand Army" at Boulogne (which ultimately found a different destination); he also produced a statue of Cicero for the senate, and various busts, amongst which may be cited those of Marshal Ney, of Josephine and of Napoleon himself, by whom Houdon was rewarded with the legion of honour.
The evidences of this travel (which are really incontestable, though a small minority of critics still decline to admit them) consist of (1) some fine drawings, three of them dated 1494 and others undated, but plainly of the same time, in which Diirer has copied, or rather boldly translated into his own Gothic and German style, two famous engravings by Mantegna, a number of the "Tarocchi" prints of single figures which pass erroneously under that master's name, and one by yet another minor master of the North-Italian school; with another drawing dated 1495 and plainly copied from a lost original by Antonio Pollaiuolo, and yet another of an infant Christ copied in 1495 from Lorenzo di Credi, from whom also Diirer took a motive for the composition of one of his earliest Madonnas; (2) several landscape drawings done in the passes of Tirol and the Trentino, which technically will not fit in with any other period of his work, and furnish a clear record of his having crossed the Alps about this date; (3) two or three drawings of the costumes of Venetian courtesans, which he could not have made anywhere but in Venice itself, and one of which is used in his great woodcut Apocalypse series of 1498 (4) a general preoccupation which he shows for some years from this date with the problems of the female nude, treated in a manner for which Italy only could have set him the example; and (5) the clear implication contained in a letter written from Venice in 1506 that he had been there already eleven years before; when things, he says, pleased him much which at the time of writing please him no more.
In the first three or four years of the 16th century, we find Diirer in his graverwork still contending with the problems of the nude, but now with added power, though by methods which in different subjects contrast curiously with one another.