Crucifixion (1519) by Albrecht Durer

Crucifixion - Albrecht Durer - 1519

Artwork Information

ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Crucifixion

The artwork “Crucifixion” by Albrecht Dürer was created in 1519 as an engraving. Dürer, a key figure in the Northern Renaissance art movement, chose a religious painting genre to depict this powerful scene. Although originally produced over 500 years ago, its exact location is reported to be held within a private collection and is not on public display.

The engraving itself depicts the biblical scene of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is crafted with incredible detail, which is characteristic of Dürer’s work. In the center stands the crucifix, with Jesus affixed to it, his head bowed and a radiant halo behind. Above him is the inscription “INRI” (Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum), which translates to “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” To the left, a male figure, likely representing John the Apostle, is seen with his hands clasped in prayer, his face marked with sorrow. He is looking towards Jesus, illustrating his deep connection and mourning. To the right of Jesus, there are two women, one of whom is likely Mary, the mother of Jesus, accompanied by Mary Magdalene. Their expressions and postures also convey immense grief and devotion.

Below the main figures, at the foot of the cross, a small, kneeling figure—a donor or a representation of a faithful Christian—is praying, showcasing the personal engagement and reflection upon the sacrificial scene above. There is also a skull at the base of the cross, a common motif in crucifixion scenes symbolizing Golgotha, the place of the skull where Christ was crucified. The rounded top of the image might suggest that this work was meant to be viewed within an architectural or devotional context. Overall, Dürer’s “Crucifixion” engraving is a powerful portrayal of one of the central narratives of Christian faith, rendered with the technical skill and emotional depth that marks the artist’s prolific oeuvre.

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