The Man of Sorrows Standing by the Column


Albrecht Dürer ( German, 1471 - 1528 )

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General Description

Unlike the other prints in The Engraved Passion series, the frontispiece does not depict a specific scene from the Gospels; instead, this image represents the collective suffering Jesus endured. It may refer to scenes from Passion plays or other forms of popular piety that were widespread during Albrecht Dürer's lifetime. Jesus holds the whips and switches that were used for his torture and wears his crown of thorns. His hands and feet already bear the marks of the nails used for crucifixion. In the background, the cross he would later be forced to carry and be crucified on is being constructed. Rather than function within a narrative, this image was meant to inspire viewers to pious reflection on the sacrifices of Jesus, as modeled by the figures in the lower corner.

Adapted from

  • Laura Sevelis, DMA label copy, March 2015.

  • Carl Wuellner, DMA label copy, December 2003.

Fun Facts

  • After completing this print, Dürer stopped making engravings for two years and focused his attention on woodcuts (which he had previously taken a five-year hiatus from producing). He returned to engraving in 1511 and completed the series for which this work is the frontispiece.

Web Resources

  • Inside Albrecht Dürer's Studio- Engraving
    Watch this demonstration and explanation of the engraving process created by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute for the exhibition, The Strange World of Albrecht Dürer (November 14, 2010- March 13, 2011).