Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de España, Invent/29844-855

Large Woodcut Passion Facsimile Edition

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Between 1505 and 1507, Albrecht Dürer visited Italy, where he found fame and praise. He went back to Nuremberg in 1511 and completed a project that he had started fifteen years earlier. The Large Woodcut Passion is a series of prints depicting Christ's passion and death, realized in a large, monumental format. These prints are remarkable for the quality of details along with the exceptional dramatic effects that Dürer was able to display using such a difficult technique as the woodcuts.

Dürer's Extraordinary Technique

Figures showing strong emotional expressions enliven the scenes. Dürer introduced innovative elements to the subject of the Passion of Christ as interpreted in the Late Gothic depictions. During his career, five times Dürer worked on the subject, and left unfinished the sixth version of the Passion.

In the Large Woodcut Passion, Dürer explored the pictorial potential of the chiaroscuro technique. Small and continuous lines juxtaposed to each other enhance the contrast between light and shadow. Dürer showed his exceptional mastery in these prints, in which the figures exhibit plastic volume, while the space is rendered with coherent depth.

The Original Edition

The woodcuts were the result of a work that lasted a few years. The first seven cuts were made between 1497 and 1500. The complete edition of twelve cuts appeared in 1511, when Dürer published the prints along with a Latin poem on the passion of Christ and the life of the Virgin Mary written by Benedictus Chelidonius (1460-1521), a Benedictine theologian, abbot of the Scottish monastery at Vienna.

The prints preserved in the Biblioteca Nacional de España, Madrid depict the scenes of the Crown of Thorns, the Last Supper, Christ on the Mount of Olives, the Arrest of Christ, the famous Flagellation, and the Way to Calvary, the Crucifixion, and the Lamentation. All the scenes are signed and represent a dramatic and vivid interpretation of the Passion of Christ.


We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Large Woodcut Passion": La Gran Pasión de Alberto Durero facsimile edition, published by CM Editores, 2011

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Printed book description compiled by the publisher.
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La Gran Pasión de Alberto Durero

Salamanca: CM Editores, 2011

  • Commentary (Spanish) by Gonzalez de Zarate, Jesus M.
  • Limited Edition: 375 copies
  • Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document, Large Woodcut Passion: the facsimile attempts to replicate the look-and-feel and physical features of the original document; pages are trimmed according to the original format; the binding might not be consistent with the current document binding.

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