The young Albrecht Dürer's (1471-1528) approach to the Passion subject, on the other hand, was without any narrative intent. Originally from Nuremberg, the painter headed off to meet Martin Schongauer (c. 1450-1491) in Colmar in 1490, but Schongauer died shortly before Dürer's arrival.

"Christ as Man of Sorrows" a small panel for private worship, was possibly created in a workshop in Strasbourg in 1493. It shows the Saviour with the crown of thorns and the accoutrements of suffering in a sort of burial cave behind a railing. The body is muscular and marked by the stigmata. Seriously, with his eyes wide open, Christ gazes back at the viewer. His features are typical of Schongauer's style, while the posture, with his head resting on his right hand, makes reference to the ancient gesture of melancholy.

The glowing green cavern is framed with a decoratively punched gold surface, which bespeaks the painter's training in his father's gold workshop. Among the subjects engraved in the gold foil are symbols of mockery (the affronted, "denounced" owl, for example) and of misery (the thistle tendril, sometimes called "Ellend" in German, meaning "misery").

Dürer innovatively combined the motif of the "Pensive Christ", contemplating that which awaits him, with the (resurrected) "Man of Sorrows", who focuses on the viewer with open eyes. This new, condensed formulation makes the painting's call to contemplation all the more penetrating.


  • Title: Christ as Man of Sorrows
  • Creator: Albrecht Dürer
  • Creator Lifespan: 1471 - 1528
  • Creator Nationality: German
  • Date Created: 1493
  • Location Created: Strasbourg, France
  • Physical Dimensions: 30 x 19 cm
  • Subject Keywords: Jesus Christ, Saviour, Passion, Pensive Christ, Man of Sorrows, Schongauer, Stigmata, Crown of thorns, Duerer, Durer
  • Type: Painting
  • Publisher: Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe (State Art Gallery Karlsruhe)
  • External Link: Christ as Man of Sorrows
  • Medium: Mixed technique
  • Art Genre: Portrait
  • Art Movement: Renaissance, German Renaissance
  • Support: Conifer wood
  • Depicted Person: Jesus Christ
  • Depicted Topic: Jesus Christ, Man of Sorrows, Pensive Christ

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