Christ on the Mount of Olives (1496 – 1510) by Albrecht Durer

Christ on the Mount of Olives - Albrecht Durer - 1496 - 1510

Artwork Information

TitleChrist on the Mount of Olives
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Date1496 - 1510
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationAlbertina, Vienna, Austria

About Christ on the Mount of Olives

“Christ on the Mount of Olives” is a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, created between 1496 and 1510. This piece is part of “The Large Passion” series and embodies the Northern Renaissance art movement. It is a religious painting by genre, and you can find it at the Albertina Museum in Vienna, Austria.

The woodcut depicts the biblical scene of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before his crucifixion, a narrative located in the New Testament. Jesus is placed centrally and is shown looking upwards, connecting with the divine presence, likely pleading for strength to face his upcoming suffering. He is surrounded by a dramatic and detailed landscape, a hallmark of Dürer’s work that shows the Northern Renaissance’s emphasis on naturalism and intricate detail. Behind Jesus, we see an angel appearing to offer comfort or possibly the cup that symbolizes the fate Jesus is about to accept.

In the foreground, the disciples Peter, James, and John are depicted sleeping, oblivious to the emotional agony of their master. Their relaxed, slumped postures contrast with the tense, kneeling form of Jesus. The clear distinction between the tranquil sleepers and the tense, praying figure of Christ emphasizes the isolation and emotional turmoil Jesus felt.

Dürer’s mastery in woodcut technique is evident in the artwork’s rich textures and complex composition, capturing the viewer’s attention with its expressive lines and stark contrast. The flowing drapery of Jesus’s robes and the detailed rendering of the natural elements, like flora and clouds, all serve to enhance the dramatic impact of the scene. Dürer’s monogram, “AD,” can also be observed, marking the work as his own.

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