The Descent from the Cross (1511) by Albrecht Durer

The Descent from the Cross - Albrecht Durer - 1511

Artwork Information

TitleThe Descent from the Cross
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationBritish Museum, London, UK

About The Descent from the Cross

“The Descent from the Cross” is a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, completed in 1511, as part of the “Northern Renaissance” art movement. This religious painting belongs to “The Small Passion” series and currently resides in the British Museum in London, UK.

The artwork presents a dramatic moment with numerous figures involved in the descent of Christ from the cross after his crucifixion. Central to the composition is the lifeless body of Jesus, depicted with hanging arms and bowed head, conveying the gravity of the moment. Ladders are positioned against the cross, with figures actively engaged in the lowering of the body. They reach out to support Jesus, with one figure in particular holding onto his arm and another ready to receive the body. Onlookers, including women and men, are shown with various expressions of sorrow and devotion. The surrounding details, such as the grouping of onlookers and the tools on the ground, contribute to the narrative depth of the scene, while the darkness in the sky suggests the solemn mood of this biblical event. Dürer’s technical skill in woodcut is evident through the intricate line work, which delicately defines the textures and forms within the scene, showcasing the elaborate detail characteristic of his work and the attention to human emotion in religious contexts typical of Northern Renaissance art.

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