Christ before Caiaphas, plate 4 from The Passion of Christ

Hendrick Goltzius1597

Te Papa

Te Papa
Wellington, New Zealand

Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617) was a German-born Dutch printmaker, draftsman and painter. He was the leading Dutch engraver of the Northern Mannerist style/era, and was noted for his sophisticated technique and the exuberance of his compositions. Goltzius brought to an unprecedented level the use of the "swelling line" where the burin (engraver's tool) is manipulated to make lines thicker or thinner to create a tonal effect from a distance. He also was a pioneer of "dot and lozenge" technique, where dots are placed in the middle of lozenge shaped spaces created by cross-hatching to further refine tonal shading. 388 prints have been credited to him, with a further 574 by other printmakers after his designs.

Between 1596 and 1598 Goltzius engraved this series of twelve prints illustrating the <em>Passion of Christ.</em> They reflect the influence of the Netherlandish artist Lucas van Leyden, in both the figure types and the actual engraving technique. In contrast to his normal graphic style, which was characterized by a dramatic line that swells and tapers around the figures and background, here Goltzius uses thin even lines crossed with long straight hatching lines that are typically found in Lucas’s prints. In Northern Europe at the end of the sixteenth century there was a revival of interest in the works of Lucas and this series can be seen within that larger context. So, too, can Goltzius’s famous <em>Pietà,</em> modeled after Albrecht Dürer and the <em>Circumcision </em>and the <em>Adoration of the Magi</em> from his series the <em>Life of the Virgin. </em>The <em>Passion of Christ </em>series was extremely popular during Goltzius’s own lifetime and well beyond. This is evidenced by a very deceptive set of copies produced in Goltzius’s own studio and six additional sets of copies dating from the late 1590s to the mid-seventeenth century.

In this fourth plate in the series of 12, a serene Christ stands before the high priest, standing at left, between two torch-bearers; in the distance are the towers of buildings and a starry night sky.

See:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hendrik_Goltzius


Dr Mark Stocker   Curator, Historical International Art             February 2017


  • Title: Christ before Caiaphas, plate 4 from The Passion of Christ
  • Creator: Hendrik Goltzius (artist)
  • Date Created: 1597
  • Location: Haarlem
  • Physical Dimensions: Image: 130mm (width), 197mm (height)
  • Provenance: Purchased 1983 with Ellen Eames Collection funds
  • Subject Keywords: Biblical events | Jesus Christ | Caiaphas | Dutch | Mannerist | Albrecht Dürer | Lucas van Leyden
  • Rights: No Known Copyright Restrictions
  • External Link: Te Papa Collections Online
  • Medium: engraving
  • Support: paper
  • Depicted Person: Jesus Christ
  • Registration ID: 1983-0004-4

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