This Calvary scene belongs to a group of smaller woodcuts of traditional, devotional subjects, prints Dürer referred to in his Netherlandish journal in 1520 as 'schlecht holswerk' ('simple woodwork'). He must have used this expression to differentiate these prints from the large, single woodcuts as well as from the three large woodcut series, which were in every respect more demanding; for the artist, the woodcutter and the viewer.
It has been suggested that these smaller woodcuts were also conceived as a series, an illustrated edition of a popular collection of prayers called 'Salus animae'. However, it seems more likely that they were meant to be sold as single, devotional images at markets, fairs and sites of pilgrimage.
For the present Crucifixion a swift little sketch of two of the crosses has survived and is in the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin (W. 328).