ALBRECHT DÜRER (1471-1528)
ALBRECHT DÜRER (1471-1528)

The Crucifixion, from: The Large Passion

ALBRECHT DÜRER (1471-1528)
The Crucifixion, from: The Large Passion
woodcut, circa 1498, on laid paper, watermark Bull's Head with Caduceus (Meder 81), a very fine proof impression, Meder a, before the crack in the block below and before the Latin text edition of 1511, printing very evenly and clearly in brownish-black ink, with narrow margins, in very good condition, framed
Block 394 x 283 mm., Sheet 397 x 285 mm.
Probably Baron Philipp von Stosch (1691-1757), Küstrin, Rome, & Florence; presumably then by descent to his nephew Heinrich Wilhelm Muzel-Stosch (1723-1782), Berlin.
Dr August Sträter (1810-1897), Aachen, Germany (Lugt 787); probably his posthumous sale, H.G. Gutekunst, Stuttgart, 10-14 May 1898, lot 505 (as part of a complete, bound set: 'Vollständige Folge in prachtvollen Abdrücken des ersten Zustands vor dem Text auf der Rückseite. Aus der Sammlung Baron Stosch in Mailand ... Von solch vorzüglicher Qualität ausserordentlich selten.') (Mk. 505; to Gutekunst).
Presumably with H. G. Gutekunst, Stuttgart.
Vinzent Mayer (1831-1918), New York and Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany (Lugt 2525); presumably acquired from the above; his posthumous sale, Cassirer, Helbing & Rosenthal, Berlin, 5 November 1919, lot 93 (as part of the complete set of the Large Passion, Mk. 2,100) (to Colnaghi).
With P. & D. Colnaghi, London, with their stock number C. 4928 in pencil verso, acquired at the above sale.
With Frederick Keppel & Co., New York, their stock number K 9066 in pencil verso, acquired from the above on 2 May 1921 (£675).
Art Institute of Chicago (Lugt 32b).
Bartsch 11; Meder, Hollstein 120; Schoch Mende Scherbaum 53

Brought to you by

Tim Schmelcher
Tim Schmelcher International Specialist

Lot Essay

It is interesting to compare the present lot, executed circa 1498 with Dürer’s treatment of the same subject from approximately five years before (lot 17). While the earlier depiction of the Crucifixion concentrated on Christ himself, the Virgin and Saint John, the woodcut for The Large Passion is on a very different scale and Dürer elaborated it into a far more complex, multi-figure composition filled with movement and activity. There is now a crowd of figures on the ground and three majestic angels underneath the Cross, collecting the blood of the crucified Redeemer. Christ has been raised skyward, thus prefiguring his Resurrection and Ascension. While there is a modesty and a contemplative, almost stoic serenity to the Crucifixion from the Missale speciale, the mood here is one of majestic drama and of high pathos. The difference is most poignant in the figure of Mary, who in the earlier version seems to accept her Son's sacrifice with great humility, whilst in the Large Passion print, her attitude is one of extreme anguish and despair.

Dürer returned to the subject of the crucified Christ in two further series of prints on the Life of Christ, in 1509 in The Small Woodcut Passion and in 1511 in The Engraved Passion. He also explored the subject in the single engraving of Christ on the Cross in 1508 (lot 34), which again explores a different emotive element of this central moment of the Passion of Christ. Each of the subsequent depictions of the subject is gradually pared down again in scale and complexity, and none matches the present woodcut of circa 1498 in it's grandeur and expressive force.

This very fine, early proof impression, printed in a warm brownish-black, is a marvel in clarity and definition, allowing the viewer to appreciate the subtlety and detail of the delicately carved woodcut. The impressive list of previous owners - Baron Stosch, Dr August Sträter, Vinzent Mayer and the Art Institute of Chicago - attests to the outstanding quality of this impression.

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