San Francisco Public Library
Image by Hans R. Gallas
RV-069 Hans R. Gallas

Title:Praying/Preying Hands
Among the most reproduced engravings in the world is "The Praying Hands" by the 16th century German artist Albrecht Dürer. Whether these hands depict those of Christ or are, according to one legend, the hands of Dürer’s brother, this image has deep religious connotations for many. This picture or sculptural interpretations of it were found and can still be found in countless homes, offices, schools, and places of worship. These hands have come to symbolize comfort, security, reverence, devotion and hope. But hands can also inflict horrible destruction prompted by anger, ignorance, or frustration, as was the case in the vandalization of the Library’s books. Within the framework of the safe-haven of a dollhouse world, this piece represents the dichotomy of the hands—praying and preying. In our daily lives in places of security, moments arise prompted by actions that are often out of control that forever change how we will look at life and how we must live. We can seek comfort in the established institutions around us, in friendships or within ourselves for the strength needed to move on in a world praying/preying hands.

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