Jesus Christ on the Mount of Olives (c.1510) by Albrecht Durer

Jesus Christ on the Mount of Olives - Albrecht Durer - c.1510

Artwork Information

TitleJesus Christ on the Mount of Olives
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationBritish Museum, London, UK

About Jesus Christ on the Mount of Olives

“Jesus Christ on the Mount of Olives” is a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, the Northern Renaissance master, created circa 1510. This religious painting belongs to Dürer’s larger body of work reflecting his deep engagement with Christian themes. The artwork is part of the British Museum’s collection in London, UK. It exemplifies the detailed and expressive style characteristic of Dürer’s prints, highlighting the spiritual intensity of the religious narrative during this pivotal period of art history.

The woodcut depicts a dramatic scene taking place on the Mount of Olives, with Jesus Christ at the forefront, in a state of deep prayer and emotional turmoil. He is surrounded by his disciples, who are depicted asleep in various postures. This moment captures the biblical episode just before the betrayal of Jesus, showcasing his human vulnerability and divine connection.

In the foreground, Christ kneels, his hands clasped in prayer, while an angel descends from above, offering him the cup of suffering, a symbol of his impending passion and crucifixion. The angel’s posture is one of gentle delivery, as it presents the heavy cross symbolizing Christ’s burden. The sculptural folds of the robes of Jesus and the angel suggest volume and add to the solemnity of the moment.

In the background, the armed soldiers and Judas Iscariot are seen approaching to arrest Jesus. The dense grouping of figures and the dramatic contrast between light and shadow contribute to the intensity of the narrative.

The artist’s signature, represented by his monogram ‘AD,’ is discernibly placed in the lower right of the composition, indicating his authorship of this poignant religious scene. Dürer’s expertise in woodcut technique is evident in the meticulous lines and textures that evoke a rich tapestry of emotions and signify the era’s artistic advances.

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