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Small Woodcut Passion Test Printing Facsimile Edition

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The Small Passion is among the most famous works by Albrecht Dürer. Featuring woodcuts made as early as 1509, it was eventually published in a book by the artist himself in 1511.

An Incredible Masterpiece of Woodcuts

The work consists of thirty-six woodcut plates, the title page "Vir dolorum," and the table "Christ on the Mount of Olives," which was replaced with a new one by Dürer, but still included for documentation. The average size of the woodcuts is 128 x 96 mm, printed on sheets of 21 x 15 cm.

The original volume was completed with a commentary to the tables of Philip Chelidonio. A few years after, Dürer sold the whole volume to the engraver Marcantonio Raimondi in Bologna, with whom Dürer then came into conflict, accusing him of plagiarism. Raimondi did use the tables to duplicate the woodcuts in etching. He also as copied other works – particularly the leaves of the Life of the Virgin – to sell them in the Italian and European market.

The Popularity of the Work

Such was the popularity of Dürer's work in the first decades of the sixteenth century that many artists used it as inspiration for their own works, like Romanino by Pontormo. It also inspired many German and Flemish illuminators like as Nicolaus Glockendon and Simon Bening.

The original drawings reappeared in Venice. On the initiative of the cartographer and engraver Donato Rasciotti, the work was reprinted by the Venetian publisher Daniele Bisuccio. It included a dedication to the Archduke of Austria, with a new title and with the new commentary in Italian by Maurizio Moro.

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Small Woodcut Passion Test Printing": Albrecht Dürer - La Piccola Passione xilografica - Norimberga 1511 facsimile edition, published by Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte, 2011

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Printed book description compiled by the publisher.
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Albrecht Dürer - La Piccola Passione xilografica - Norimberga 1511

Modena: Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte, 2011

  • Commentary (Italian) by Bini, Mauro
  • Limited Edition: 199 copies + 26 copies (A to Z)
  • This is a partial facsimile of the original document, Small Woodcut Passion Test Printing: the facsimile might represent only a part, or doesn't attempt to replicate the format, or doesn't imitate the look-and-feel of the original document.

The facsimile edition reproduces one of the rare examples of 16th-century test printing, preserved in a private collection. The edition lacks the text by Maurizio Moro, but features the entire original xylographic apparatus: the "Vir dolorum" frontispiece, the 36 Passion tables, two xylographies dedicated to Adam and Eve, and the first version of the "Christ on the Mount of Olives" table, which was subsequently replaced with a new one.

The format (21 x 15 cm) and the number of pages (76 + VIII endpaper and colophon) match the original work.


Leather with a frame on the plates engraved by Ancient Bookbinding Gozzi of Modena. Both facsimile and commentary kept in a brown silk box.

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approx US$ 1,344

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