Man of Sorrows
11.7 cm x 6.8 cm (4 5/8 in. x 2 11/16 in.)
(Nuremberg, Germany, 1471 - 1528, Nuremberg, Germany)
Medium and Support:
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
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.