DÜRER, Albrecht
(b. 1471, Nürnberg, d. 1528, Nürnberg)

Man of Sorrows by the Column (No. 1)

Engraving, 116 x 75 mm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Sheet No. 1 of the Engraved Passion.

Generally considered the frontispiece of the Engraved Passion. This print opens the Passion series, although it is not historical but a representation outside the Gospels. As such, it probably derives from Passion plays. In this version Christ is shown standing. Later, Dürer found the sitting position preferable and used it for the frontispieces of his woodcut Passions. The combination of the Man of Sorrows with the Virgin and St John was already used by Schongauer. The iconography is based on a vision experienced by St Bridget. The arrangement of the bystanders in half-length is quite new and remarkable.

After this work Dürer suspended his engraving activity until 1511 and suddenly returned to producing a series of woodcuts after a lapse of more than five years. He issued more than thirty of the thirty-seven subjects of the Small Woodcut Passion during this period. The complete series was published in 1511. At the same time Dürer finally completed the Heller Altarpiece. In 1510 Dürer also prepared the additional sheets of the Large Woodcut Passion and the [woodcut] Life of the Virgin.