The Lamentation for Christ (1496 – 1510) by Albrecht Durer

The Lamentation for Christ - Albrecht Durer - 1496 - 1510

Artwork Information

TitleThe Lamentation for Christ
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Date1496 - 1510
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationAlbertina, Vienna, Austria

About The Lamentation for Christ

The artwork titled “The Lamentation for Christ” is a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, who was a leading figure in the Northern Renaissance art movement. Created sometime between 1496 and 1510, this piece is a part of “The Large Passion” series and is currently housed at the Albertina in Vienna, Austria. The medium used for the woodcut reflects Dürer’s skill in this intricate form of art, typical of the Northern Renaissance period, which was characterized by a great attention to detail and a focus on religious themes.

The woodcut depicts a scene of deep sorrow and mourning. It portrays the biblical event of the Lamentation of Christ, where the body of Jesus is being mourned by his followers after his crucifixion. The central figure is Christ, lifeless and surrounded by a group of grieving figures, most prominently the Virgin Mary, who appears overwhelmed by grief. To the right, a figure with a halo likely represents John the Evangelist, who tenderly cradles Christ’s head. Other mourners are shown with expressions of despair.

The setting is detailed and naturalistic, a hallmark of Dürer’s work, with carefully rendered trees, foliage, and a distant landscape that includes a town and a bridge. The sky has birds flying, indicating life continuing in the background. The composition is dense, with the diagonal orientation of the tree to the left adding a dynamic element to the static melancholy of the scene.

The woodcut is a fine example of Dürer’s mastery in capturing human emotion and the complexities of nature, creating a powerful narrative illustration that complements the strong religious sentiment of the time. Dürer’s initials, “AD,” can be seen within the woodcut, serving as his signature mark.

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