Christ before Herod (1509) by Albrecht Durer

Christ before Herod - Albrecht Durer - 1509

Artwork Information

TitleChrist before Herod
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationBritish Museum, London, UK

About Christ before Herod

“Christ before Herod” is a woodcut by Albrecht Durer, created in 1509 as part of “The Small Passion” series. This artwork belongs to the Northern Renaissance movement and is categorized as a religious painting. The piece is held in the British Museum, located in London, UK.

In this woodcut, the scene depicted is one of intense drama and religious significance, reflecting a moment from the Passion of Christ narratives. The central figure is Jesus Christ, shown standing calmly, clothed in a long robe with his hands bound. He is being presented before Herod Antipas, who is seated to the right, extravagantly dressed, suggesting his royal status. Herod is depicted with a facial expression of curiosity or skepticism, gazing at Christ. Around them are several figures, likely soldiers and courtiers, participating in or observing this momentous encounter. The artist has included a great deal of detail in the clothing and the interior setting, which reflects the opulence of Herod’s court and contrasts with the simplicity of Christ’s appearance. There’s a dramatic tension in the composition, as the figures appear closely confined within the frame, emphasizing the gravity of the moment being depicted.

The woodcut is marked by Durer’s masterful use of line to create texture and depth, as well as his ability to convey narrative and emotion through the expressions and postures of the figures. His meticulous approach to woodcutting was revolutionary for the time and contributed to his reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance.

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