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

Sudarium Spread Out by an Angel

Etching, 185 x 184 mm
Art Institute, Chicago

One can almost hear the outcry of the angel soaring out of the dark with the Sudarium. Christ's face is shown distorted on the windblown kerchief in contrast to the solemn rendering in the engraving of similar subject. It seems that the less severe technique has also led to a relaxation of the spiritual expression. The print can be called a feverish vision, with the pace of the needle accelerated to an allegro furioso. Instead of solemn frontality, Veronica's kerchief is here held aloft by a great angel and billows like the sail of a ship in a stormy night. Sharply foreshortened, the Holy face is barely recognizable. Space seems to have dissolved into darkness pervaded by a long wail of lament.