Christ Appears to Mary Magdalene (1511) by Albrecht Durer

Christ Appears to Mary Magdalene - Albrecht Durer - 1511

Artwork Information

TitleChrist Appears to Mary Magdalene
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationBritish Museum, London, UK

About Christ Appears to Mary Magdalene

The artwork “Christ Appears to Mary Magdalene” by Albrecht Dürer, dated 1511, is a woodcut that forms part of “The Small Passion” series. This piece belongs to the Northern Renaissance art movement and is categorized as a religious painting. The original work is held in the British Museum in London, UK.

In the artwork, two central figures dominate the scene set in a natural landscape. Jesus Christ stands on the right, portrayed with a halo around His head, indicating His divine nature. His posture is upright and commanding, yet there is a gentleness in the way He interacts with the figure before Him. His robes drape around His body, suggesting a sense of movement. Christ’s hand gestures seem to be in a manner of speaking or revelation, as rays of light emanate from behind Him, signifying His resurrection and divine glory.

Before Him, on the left, Mary Magdalene is depicted in a posture of supplication or realization, possibly at the moment of recognizing Jesus after His resurrection. Her body language conveys deep emotion, as she appears to be reaching out to Jesus while at the same time holding back, as if He has just cautioned her. Mary is shown with her head covered, and she kneels on the ground with her garments flowing around her, her attention entirely focused on Christ.

The background features an open landscape with sparse trees, indicating the scene takes place outside. A small structure is visible in the distance, and there appear to be one or two figures in the background, perhaps suggesting the location of the tomb from which Jesus has risen.

The overall impression is one of a profoundly significant moment of recognition and revelation, captured with meticulous detail and strong contrast typical of woodcut prints of this period. The depiction of the classical biblical story is deeply imbued with the spiritual and emotional resonance characteristic of Dürer’s religious works.

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