Albrecht Dürer, ‘Christ on the Mount of Olives (B. 54; M., Holl. 162; S.M.S. 223)’, ca. 1508-1509, Christie's Old Masters

Woodcut, circa 1508-09, watermark Large City Gate (M. 260), a very good, clear impression of this rare woodcut, with small margins, in very good condition.

In the related scene from the Engraved Passion (lot 36) Dürer was to use dramatic lighting effects to convey the agitation of the scene. In the etching of 1515 (lot 52) he relied upon the dynamic quality of the lines themselves. Here he uses the surrounding vegetation and landscape forms to amplify the emotional content of the scene, as Christ is confronted with the chalice, and Judas and the soldiers enter the gate.
This print was originally conceived as part of the Small Woodcut Passion, but was then replaced by another print of the same subject (M. 135).
It is not known why Dürer rejected the present composition, but it was never included in the edition of the series and lifetime impressions from this block are extremely rare.

Franz von Hagens (1817-1899), Dresden (L. 1052a); his posthumous sale, C. G. Boerner, Leipzig, 2-3 May 1927, lot 193 (Mk 100).

Albert W. Blum (1882-1952), Germany, Switzerland and Short Hills, New Jersey (L. 79 b and 3198); Sotheby's, New York, 27 February 1988, lot 1095 (US$4,070).

About Albrecht Dürer

Considered one of the foremost artists of the Renaissance period, Albrecht Dürer’s extensive work in printmaking transformed the categorization of the medium from craft to fine art. Often depicting religious subjects, Dürer’s woodcuts and engravings demonstrated unprecedented technical skill, tonal variation, and compositional sophistication. Dürer theorized extensively on linear perspective and anatomical proportion, concerns that were articulated in a vast body of written work as well as in his paintings and prints. Dürer’s skill earned him the role of court artist for Holy Roman Emperors Maximilian I and Charles V, under whom he created a number of paintings and altarpieces. Dürer’s series of self-portraits, created throughout his career, represent some of his most iconic works.

German, 1471-1528, Nuremberg, Germany, based in Nuremberg, Germany