Crucifixion (c.1494 – 1497) by Albrecht Durer

Crucifixion - Albrecht Durer - c.1494 - 1497

Artwork Information

ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Datec.1494 - 1497
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance

About Crucifixion

“Crucifixion” by Albrecht Dürer, dated approximately between 1494 and 1497, is a notable religious painting from the Northern Renaissance period. It forms part of “The Seven Sorrows of Mary” series, which reflects on the pain and suffering of Jesus’ mother, Mary, during significant events in her son’s life. The artwork captures profound religious themes and exemplifies the rich detail and emotional depth characteristic of the Northern Renaissance movement.

In this particular depiction of the Crucifixion, we see a dynamic and crowded composition filled with various figures that encapsulate the momentous and agonizing event. In the foreground, the central action focuses on the crucifixion itself, with a depiction of Christ being nailed to the cross. The figure responsible for this action is leaning heavily into his work, conveying the physical exertion involved. Below this figure lies another who seems to be adjusting or holding the base of the cross, emphasizing the practical and grim tasks associated with crucifixion.

Surrounding the main event are numerous other figures, each engaged in different activities and displaying various emotional states. Women can be seen mourning at the top right of the composition; their expressions and gestures convey deep sorrow and despair, contributing to the overall somber and melancholy atmosphere of the scene. Soldiers on horseback, positioned on the left side of the artwork, remind the viewer of the authoritative force overseeing the execution.

Each figure is rendered with fine details and a lifelike quality that demonstrates Dürer’s mastery of anatomy and his close observation of human emotion. The landscape in the background provides a serene contrast to the chaotic and distressing actions taking place in the foreground, and the intricate portrayal of the surroundings is a testament to Dürer’s skill as an artist of the Northern Renaissance era. The clothing and attire also reflect a mix of contemporary and biblical sensibilities, further illustrating Dürer’s ability to bridge the gap between present and past.

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