Christ as the Man of Sorrows, 1521
Copy after Albrecht Dürer: "Kleine Passion", Inv.no. E126
Engraving. 127 x 97 mm
Inventory number: E229
No other artists have had their graphic works copied to such an extent as Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528)! The figure sitting on a small round bale and crowned with thorns is a meticulous copy of Dürer’s Christ as a Man of Sorrows, which is found on the title page of his series of woodcuts on the passion of Christ, Kleine Passion. However, Dürer’s own figure stands out for its heavily drawn lines and is of a far rougher quality. The difference is due to the fact that Dürer executed his motif as a woodcut – and not, as here, as a copperplate engraving. Furthermore, the artist has been quite free in his treatment in that he has added the meadow around the cliff and two columns suggestive of a portal as the background. In addition, the artist has moved Dürer’s monogram higher up, away from the stone on which Christ is sitting.
Only from the middle of the 16th century did the artists working with graphic techniques start adding their own initials or names when making a copy of a work by another artist. And it is unusual in this print that the anonymous artist should have added the year in which he made his work. Our ideas about copying and reproduction are a relatively new phenomenon. They were not known in Dürer’s day.