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Christ before Pilate

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    Nuremberg (engraved)

  • Date:

    1512 (engraved)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dürer, Albrecht, born 1471 - died 1528 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraving on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:

    E.4638-1910

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D, case EL, shelf 82, box D

The Engraved Passion (1507-1512) was one of four major series of religious prints made by Dürer, and helped to establish his reputation as an outstanding Renaissance printmaker. The others were the woodcut series of the Life of the Virgin, the Great Passion, and the Little Passion, all published in 1511. The Engraved Passion consists of fifteen small scale engravings and tells the story of Christ's betrayal by Judas, his crucifixion and resurrection. Dürer is renowned for inventing new and imaginative ways to depict scenes from Christian stories, and in the Engraved Passion the compositions of each plate are dramatic, intricate and complex, with emotive contrasts of light and shadow. Unlike the more populist woodcut prints, they were designed to appeal to a more exclusive market of connoisseurs and collectors. Because it took several years for the series to be completed, it is likely that individual images were sold separately. The series was also sold in sets for devotional use, and was widely copied by other printmakers and in other media.

Physical description

Engraving by Albrecht Dürer, 'Christ Before Pilate'; 1512, Nuremberg. Plate 5 from 'The Engraved Passion'. Date and artist's monogram inscribed at lower right. Manhandled by guards, Christ stands before the Roman governor Pilate, who wears a turban in orientalist style. Between them is a woman pointing at Jesus, bearing false witness.

Place of Origin

Nuremberg (engraved)

Date

1512 (engraved)

Artist/maker

Dürer, Albrecht, born 1471 - died 1528 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Engraving on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'1512 / AD'
Dated on pillar with monogram below at lower right

Dimensions

Height: 11.9 cm, Width: 7.7 cm

Historical context note

Plate 5 from 'The Engraved Passion'.

'For the engraving Dürer revosed a still extant preparatory sketch (SD. p.2456) executed in pen and ink, and of approximately the same format. The engraving also bears a considerable resemblance to details of the corresponding subject of The Green Passion (SD.1504/27, 28). Dürer may have felt free to use elements of that series after the project for which it had been intended had been abandoned.'

Strauss, Walter L., ed. The Illustrated Bartsch 10 (Commentary): Sixteenth Century German Artists, Albrecht Dürer. New York: Abaris Books, 1980. 328 p., ill. p.29.

Descriptive line

Christ before Pilate; plate from 'The Engraved Passion' by Albrecht Durer (1471-1528); engraving

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Strauss, Walter L., ed. The Illustrated Bartsch 10 (Commentary): Sixteenth Century German Artists, Albrecht Dürer. New York: Abaris Books, 1980. 328 p., ill. ISBN 089835000X. No.7, pp.29-30.
Heller, Joseph. Das Leben und die Werke Albrecht Dürer. Bamberg: 1827. Vols. 2 & 3 (vol. 1 was not published). 208.
Meder, Joseph. Dürer-Katalog: Ein Handbuch über Albrecht Dürers Stiche, Radierungen, Holzschnitte, deren Zustände, Ausgaben und Wasserzeichen. Vienna, 1932. 7.
Dodgson, C. The Masters of Engraving and Etching: Albrecht Dürer, London and Boston, 1926. 56.
Tietze, Hans and Erika Tietze-Conrat. Kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke Albrecht Dürers. Vol. 1, Augsburg 1928; vol.2, Basel and Leipzig 1937; vol.3, Basel and Leipzig, 1938. 535.
Panofsky, Erwin. The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer. Volume I, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955 (4th edn). Volume II, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1945 (2nd edn). 114.
Strauss, W.L. The Intaglio Prints of Albrecht Dürer . New York, 1977. 59.
Bartrum, Giulia. Albrech Dürer and his Legacy: The Graphic Work of a Renaissance Artist. London British Museum, 2002, p 150
Panofsky, Erwin. The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955.
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design, Accessions 1910, London, Printed for His Majesty’s Stationery Office 1911
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design, Accessions 1910, London, Printed for His Majesty’s Stationery Office 1911

Materials

Paper; Printing ink

Techniques

Engraving

Subjects depicted

Judgement

Categories

Prints

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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