This presentation analyzes a series of woodcuts collectively entitled the Large Passion (of Christ), which the German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer created between 1496 and 1511. The Passion illustrates the biblical story of Jesus Christ’s betrayal, trial, and crucifixion. The presentation explores various artistic, religious, and philosophical contexts that affected Dürer’s imagery. The artist’s identification as an Augustinian Catholic, his interest in Italian humanism, and the influence of Venetian Renaissance art played crucial roles in the iconography and style of Dürer’s woodcut prints. The devotional known as the Way of the Cross, or Stations of the Cross, also impacted his subject matter. The artist used his Large Passion cycle to educate a wide spectrum of art collectors about Christian doctrine. The presentation concludes by briefly examining each Large Passion image, using relevant Bible passages and Christian theology to help explain some of the messages Dürer’s prints conveyed.
James Ellis, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong