Christ Bearing the Cross (1498) by Albrecht Durer

Christ Bearing the Cross - Albrecht Durer - 1498

Artwork Information

TitleChrist Bearing the Cross
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationAlbertina, Vienna, Austria

About Christ Bearing the Cross

“Christ Bearing the Cross” is a notable woodcut by the celebrated Northern Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer, created in 1498. As part of “The Large Passion” series, this religious painting exemplifies the thematic focus of the period. This artwork is held in the Albertina museum in Vienna, Austria.

Depicted in the woodcut is a crowded scene with an array of figures, many of whom seem to be involved in the act of Christ bearing the cross to the site of his crucifixion. At the center, Christ is bent under the weight of the cross, surrounded by soldiers and onlookers, some of whom appear to express various emotions—from aggression to empathy. Dürer has masterfully captured the pathos and drama of the scene. Every figure is detailed and individualized, contributing to a rich narrative tapestry.

The woodcut illustrates Dürer’s skill in using contrast and intricate lines to create depth and texture, and his capacity to convey intense human emotion and interaction within a deeply religious subject. The work is dense with activity, and viewers might need to spend time to take in the numerous characters and actions happening concurrently. The scene is set against a background of a more serene landscape, providing a stark contrast to the chaos and suffering in the foreground. Dürer’s monogram “AD” can be spotted in the artwork, a signature of his authentic creations.

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