Christ Crowned with Thorns


Albrecht Dürer ( German, 1471 - 1528 )

c. 1510
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General Description

Christ Crowned with Thorns is part of the series known as the Small Woodcut Passion. As Jesus continues the painful journey to his crucifixion, here he passively accepts his crown of thorns, which was meant to prolong his pain and mock his claim to be Son of God and Prince of Peace. The kneeling man cruelly hands him a sapling to carry in place of a scepter. Off to the side, Pilate and an official grimly watch the scene unfold.

In this engraving, the picture plane is noticeably flattened. In the foreground, Jesus is represented in profile and the other figures crowd around him; immediately behind them is an architectural colonnade. This compression of space pushes the scene outward and forces the viewer to confront Jesus’s dramatic suffering.

Adapted from

  • Laura Sevelis, DMA label copy, March 2015.

  • Carl Wuellner, DMA label copy, December 2003.

Web Resources

  • Inside Albrecht Dürer's Studio-Woodcut
    Watch this demonstration and explanation of the woodcut 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).