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Man of Sorrows

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Man of Sorrows

circa 1500
16th century
11.7 cm x 6.8 cm (4 5/8 in. x 2 11/16 in.)

Albrecht Dürer (Nuremberg, Germany, 1471 - 1528, Nuremberg, Germany) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Europe, German
Medium and Support: Engraving
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
Accession Number: 2002.827

Rather than a distinct episode of the Passion narrative, the “Man of Sorrows” is an iconic image used to evoke sympathy for Christ’s suffering. For Dürer, the subject also provided a pretext for depicting an ideally proportioned male figure. As Dürer would later write, “For in the same way as the ancients attributed the most beautiful form to their God Apollo, so we must use the same measure to reproduce the body of Christ our Lord…” Indeed, Christ’s classical proportions and contrapposto anticipates Dürer’s famous Adam of 1504, and the schematic placement of the cross and instruments of the passion resemble the measuring lines used in his Book of Human Proportions.

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