Christ Bearing the Cross (1509) by Albrecht Durer

Christ Bearing the Cross - Albrecht Durer - 1509

Artwork Information

TitleChrist Bearing the Cross
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationBritish Museum, London, UK

About Christ Bearing the Cross

“Christ Bearing the Cross” is a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, a renowned artist from the Northern Renaissance. It was created in 1509 and forms part of “The Small Passion” series. This religious painting belongs to the collection of the British Museum in London, UK.

In this artwork, Dürer graphically depicts the biblical event of Jesus Christ carrying the cross on his way to his crucifixion, a scene that has been a focal subject in Christian iconography. The composition is crowded with figures, reflecting the chaotic and tumultuous atmosphere of Christ’s final journey through the streets. The imagery is highly detailed, reflective of Dürer’s skill in woodcut techniques, with each character full of individuality and emotion.

At the center, Christ is shown collapsing under the weight of the cross, conveying a sense of suffering and endurance. His face is directed towards the viewer, which creates a poignant connection. The onlookers and soldiers surrounding him are illustrated with a range of expressions, from callous indifference to empathy, providing a dramatic narrative context. Dürer’s use of dramatic contrast and meticulous lines enhances the texture and depth of the scene, showcasing his mastery of the woodcut medium.

Dürer’s signature and the date of the piece, 1509, are conspicuously displayed on a tablet in the lower right-hand corner of the woodcut. This work, while small in scale, is powerful in its storytelling and artistic technique, characteristic of Dürer’s significant contribution to the Northern Renaissance and the history of religious art.

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