The evil thief by Albrecht Durer

The evil thief - Albrecht Durer -

Artwork Information

TitleThe evil thief
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance

About The evil thief

The artwork titled “The evil thief” is by Albrecht Dürer, a seminal figure of the Northern Renaissance. This religious painting belongs to the “Study on ‘Ober St. Veit altar'” series and showcases Dürer’s intricate technique and the era’s focus on religious subject matter.

In the image, we observe a detailed black and white depiction of a man being crucified. Noteworthy is the realistic detail in the musculature and strain of the man’s body, with particular attention to how the body sags under its own weight and how the hands are bound to the crossbeam. The work’s date, 1505, is inscribed at the top, affirming its historical context and Dürer’s practice of documenting his pieces. The cross itself is rugged, implying a raw and unadorned scene typically associated with depictions of thieves and other criminals in the context of crucifixion. The man’s loin cloth is roughly tied, adding to the sense of haste and minimal regard associated with the depiction of an “evil thief.” Dürer’s monogram (AD) can be seen on the lower portion of the cross, marking it as his creation. The emphasis on anatomy and emotion is characteristic of Dürer’s work and the Northern Renaissance’s fascination with humanist detail and religious narratives.

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