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Thetruestorybehindawell-knownpieceofart: Backinthefifteenthcentury,inatinyvillagenearNuremberg,livedafamilywitheighteenchildren.Eighteen!Inordermerelytokeepfoodonthetableforthismob,thefatherandheadof...
      The true story behind a well-known piece of art:
      Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood. Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer the Elder's children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.
       After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring the mines.
       They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg. Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an 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 beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.
       When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, 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. His closing words were, "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."
       All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No no no no."
       Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look look what four years in the mines has 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."
       More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.
       One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "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 -no one ever makes it alone!

      德国艺术大师Albrecht Durer有一幅名画“祈祷之手”,这幅画的背后有一则爱与牺牲的故事。
      星期日早上做完礼拜,他们掷了铜板,结果,弟弟Albrecht Durer胜出,去了纽伦堡艺术学院。哥哥Albert则去了危险的矿场工作,四年来一直为弟弟提供经济支持。Albrecht在艺术学院表现很突出,他的油画简直比教授的还要好。到毕业时,他的作品已经能赚不少钱了。
      四百五十多年过去了,Albrecht Durer有成千上百部的杰作流传下来,他的速写、素描、水彩画、木刻、铜刻等可以在世界各地博物馆找到;然而,大多数人最为熟悉的,却是其中的一件作品。也许,你的家里或者办公室里就悬挂着一件它的复制品。
      为了补偿哥哥所做的牺牲,表达对哥哥的敬意,一天,Albrecht Durer下了很大的工夫把哥哥合起的粗糙的双手刻了下来。他把这幅伟大的作品简单地称为“双手”,然而,全世界的人都立刻敞开心扉,瞻仰这幅杰作,把这幅爱的作品重新命名为“祈祷之手”。
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