The Crucifixion ( 1498)


Albrecht Durer was know form producing  a prodigious body of work which included woodcuts. This 1498 woodcut is known as the crucifixion. The image seems almost chilling with a skull and what looks like a femur on the ground. Two angels are present on both the left and right. They have cups which they seem to be collecting the blood of Jesus Christ. The men who appear to be soldiers on horses do not seem to be disturbed by what is happening. The people on the left show sorrow and one person is even holding the cross.  At the top of the woodcut the Sun and the Moon have faces. The crucifixion of Jesus had been a recurring subject  for artists during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. According to Christian belief, Jesus was resurrected after his crucifixion. The image of the crucifixion as shown in Durer’s woodcut illustrates Jesus as a martyr. Often the very pious state that “Jesus died for our sins.” Literal interpretations of the Bible are subject to debate. Maybe it was not he literally resurrected from the dead, rather his ideas would continue to flourish. At the time, Europeans still believed in literal interpretations of the Bible and a God that was omnipotent. Durer’s works are a record to how powerful an influence Christianity was on both politics and culture.

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