Click for BBB rating See our Privacy Policy

Welcome to Spaightwood Galleries, Inc.

120 Main Street, Upton MA 01568-6193

For more information or to purchase, please call 1-800-809-3343 or email us at spaightwood@gmail.com

You can follow us on Facebook!
I blog there regularly and announce special events and special sales.
Last updated: 1/25/2017
Home / Gallery Tour 1 / Old Master Drawings and Prints / Gallery Tour 2 / Artists
Gallery News

Old Master Prints: Albrecht Dürer (Nuremburg, 1471-1528): The Large Woodcut Passion

Dürer: The Apocalypse / Dürer: Large Passion / Dürer: Small Woodcut Passion / Dürer: Engraved Passion / Dürer: Other Passion
Dürer: Life of the Virgin / Dürer: Holy Family / Dürer: Saints and Martyrs / Dürer: Other Images
Ship of Fools 1 / Ship of Fools 2 / Ship of Fools 3 / Ship of Fools 4 / Copies After Durer

German Drawings: Hans Sebald Beham / Virgil Solis / Hans von Aachen / Johann Heinrich Roos

German 16th century printmakers: Heinrich Aldegrever, Jost Amman, Hans Sebald Beham, Hans Brosamer, Hans Burgkmair,
Lucas Cranach, Albrecht Durer, Albrecht Durer (After), Augstin Hirschvogel, Hans Holbein (After), Hopfer Family,
Monogrammist IS with the Shovel, Georg Pencz, Hans Schäufelein, Virgil Solis, Monogrammist W.S. (Wolfgang Stuber?).

Images of Women in Renaissance Prints and Drawings
Durer began the Large Passion c, 1496-97; Strauss thinks it quite possible that The Flagellation (Bartsch 8, Strauss 37),was the first print in the series. Over the next few years, Durer added six additional woodcuts, and the seven were sold as single sheets. Durer returned to the series c. 1510, adding 4 more woodcuts, and published the series with a frontispiece and a Latin text by Benedictus Chelidonius printed on the verso of the prints. Other works in the series include The Agony in the Garden (c. 1496-97, though possibly 1498: B. 6, S. 38), The Deposition of Christ (c. 1496-97: B. 12, S. 39), Ecce Homo (1498: B. 9, S. 58); The Bearing of the Cross (c. 1498-99: B. 10, S. 59), The Lamentation (c. 1498-99: B. 13, S. 60), The Crucifixion (c. 1498: B. 11, S. 61), The Last Supper (dated 1510: B. 5, S. 148); The Betrayal of Christ (dated 1510: B. 7, S. 149), The Harrowing of Hell (dated 1510: B. 14, S. 150), The Resurrection (dated 1510: B. 15, S. 151), Christ as the Man of Sorrows Mocked by a Soldier (c. 1511: B. 4, S. 157). Although The Trinity (dated 1511: B. 122, S. 164) was not bound up with the other sheets of the Large Passion, in size, in style, and in subject matter, it is one with the late sheets of the series. Durer interrupted his work on the Large Passion to work on his other great series, The Apocalypse (c. 1498, republished with new works 1511) the Life of the Virgin (c. 1501-2, completed and published 1511), the Small Woodcut Passion (c. 1508-1510, published 1511), and the Engraved Passion (c. 1506-1510). The inventiveness shown in these related series can be quickly seen by comparing them: Durer was rarely content to simply repeat an approach that he had already tried.

Walter L. Strauss in his catalogue raisonne, Albrecht Durer Woodcuts and Woodblocks (Abaris Books, 1980), provides a summary of comments upon each individual work. Strauss's Commentary volume in the Illustrated Bartsch series updates his commentary here. As always, Panofsky's Life and Art of Albrecht Durer (Princeton University Press, 1945, revised editions culminating in the 1971 edition) is crucial for an understanding of the work of this great artist and printmaker.
The Last Supper (Bartsch 5, Strauss 148, Meder 114c). Original woodcut, 1510. Ours is a good impression after the first edition in 1511 of the Large Woodcut Passion on laid paper with small margins outside the border and a Gothic P with A and small Crest (Briquet 8829) printed c. 1570 that Meder describes as "still good, black, a gap in the platter and dish foreground." Mounted on an archival support sheet; a good rich impression except for an ink stain to the right of Jesus's hand and over Judas' head; old horizontal fold. Image size: 395x287mm. Price: SOLD.
The Last Supper (Bartsch 5, Strauss 148, Meder 114d). Original woodcut, 1510. Ours is a good impression after the first edition in 1511 of the Large Woodcut Passion on laid paper with no watermark unevenly printed c. 1580. Meder describes state d as follows: "30mm of bottom border destroyed; a gap at top." Mounted on an archival support sheet to strengthen the paper along a long crease extending from Judas' seat cushion (mid-right) through his left shoulder, this impression was most carefully printed at the center, focusing upon Jesus with St. John reclining against him; it is less well printed on the mid-and upper-right side and the lower left where the paper seems not to have made a good contact with the block. The bottom right border is mostly missing, with just the upper parts of the line remaining lower right. Image size: 398x285mm. Price: $7500.
Christ on the Mount of Olives / The Agony in the Garden (B. 6, Strauss 38, M. 115c). Original woodcut, c. 1497-1500. One of Dürer's earliest major prints, this work was one of the first to reveal his genius. Made for Dürer's Large Woodcut Passion (first published in 1500), this is one of Dürer's most dramatic prints. As Jesus prays that the cup of martyrdom might pass by him but accepts God's will whatever it might be, a winged angel (top right) offers him the cup to drink; bottom right, the Apostles John and James sleep soundly; below left, St. Peter, who will soon betray Jesus, appears to be just awakening. Ours is a very good impression from the 1511 edition with the Latin text on the verso (the 1511 edition is the only edition with the Latin text printed on the reverse). Signed in the block with the monogram bottom center. Borders showing on all sides. A small semi-detached area at the bottom margin (to the left of the plant beneath St. John) has been expertly repaired. Image size: 392x278mm. Price: $22,500.
Christ on the Mount of Olives / The Agony in the Garden (B. 6, Strauss 38, M. 115c). Original woodcut, c. 1497-1500. A later impression after the 1511 edition without text. One of Dürer's earliest major prints, this work was one of the first to reveal his genius. Made for Dürer's Large Woodcut Passion, this is one of Dürer's most dramatic prints. Trimmed just outside or on the borderline; short repaired tear right edge. Image size: 387x282mm. Price: SOLD.
Christ on the Mount of Olives / The Agony in the Garden (B. 6, Strauss 38, M. 115c). Original woodcut, c. 1497-1500. This is the text from the impression from the 1511 edition above. It presents the text relevant to the betrayal that would be seen on the facing page when the folio was opened.
The betrayal of Christ (B. 7, S. 149, M., H. 116). Original woodcut, 1510 for the Large Woodcut Passion. Ours is a very good impression from the first published edition of 1511 with the Latin text on the verso (the 1511 edition is the only edition with the Latin text printed on the reverse). Strauss notes that Wölfflin considered this print the best solution to the problems posed by the subject. Wölfflin categorizes the printing of the 1511 edition as uneven (very dark on the right side, lighter on the left), as is ours. In the background left center, the young man Mark mention who avoided capture by running away without his clothes is visible; lower right, Peter is about to slice of the ear of the high priest's servant, which Jesus will then immediately restore. Signed in the block with the monogram and dated in the block top left. Borders showing on all sides. A few minor nicks and tears and a small missing area by Jesus' foot all expertly repaired. Image size: 395x277mm. Price: $25,000.
The Flagellation (B. 8, S. 37, M., H. 117). Original woodcut, c. 1496-97 for the Large Woodcut Passion. Our impression is from the Augsburg edition of 1675 on laid paper with the "Crest of Augsburg with M" watermark (M. 178). Strauss thinks this might have been the first of the plates for what became the Large Woodcut Passion when the sheets were first sold as a set in 1511 after the completeion of the series. Jesus is presented as a giant compared to those beating him, who appear to be nearly a head shorter. Strauss suggests that the dog, who appears in three other works be Durer between 1494 and c. 1500 may be Durer's own pet. The printing of this impression is uneven: sharp except for the mid-left area from the left of Christ to the officious man in the turban (probably Pilate) at left margin. Trimmed just outside or on the border; new left border added before this edition; some foxing top right. A very important print in less than perfect condition, but still quite good overall. Image size: 382x271mm. Price: $7500.
AFTER Durer, Ecce Homo (B. 9—copy). Woodcut after Durer, 1498-99. A very deceptive sixteenth-century copy of one of Durer's most powerful woodcuts (both this and its companion have been sold at auction as original Durer woodcuts. ). From the Large Woodcut Passion. A good impression in very good condition (except for missing corner top right) on heavy dark paper. Image size: 399x284mm. Price: $1850.
AFTER Durer, Ecce Homo (B. 9—copy). Woodcut after Durer, 1498-99. A very deceptive sixteenth-century copy of one of Durer's most powerful woodcuts. From the Large Woodcut Passion. A good impression in very good condition on heavy dark paper. Image size: 399x284mm. Price: SOLD.
Christ Carrying the Cross (B. 10, S. 59, M. 119). Original woodcut, c. 1498-1499. A superb Meder a proof impression before the 1511 Latin text edition. Several repaired edge tears. Strauss calls this the "most dramatic of the sheets of the large Passion" and notes that "instead of seeming to be crushed by the weight of the Cross, as in the earlier versions, Dürer's Christ seems to stop only for breath." Image size: 392x282mm. Price: $35,000.
Christ Carrying the Cross (B. 10, S. 59, M. 119). Original woodcut, c. 1498-1499. A very good impression from the 1511 Latin text edition. Small repaired tear top right between the right-most tree brancnes and the right border just below the top border. Borders intact all around. Strauss calls this the "most dramatic of the sheets of the large Passion" and notes that "instead of seeming to be crushed by the weight of the Cross, as in the earlier versions, Dürer's Christ seems to stop only for breath." Image size: 392x282mm. Price: $25,000.
The Crucifixion (B. 11, S. 61, M. 120). Original woodcut, c. 1498. A very strong impression from the 1511 Latin text edition. Before the 30mm crack extending up from the bottom border to the hem of the Virgin's garment and before the two small gaps below the monogram or the gap top left (though under magnfication, one can see signs that there are coming). Trimmed just into the border in several places (e.g., top right and left sides) and just inside it bottom right. A very strong impression of this dramatic and prophetic print. This is the best impression of this powerful print we have ever seen. One of Dürer's masterpieces! Image size: 390x278mm. Price: $30,000.

Strauss comments, "Some elements of this woodcut, such as the archaic rendering of the sun and the moon, and the crwded composition . . . seem to call for a date earlier than 1498 . . . . But there are also innovations—which one would expect from Dürer—in this "Crucixifion" . . . . The eye is drawn first to the dramatic Virgin, whose countenance reflects her ultimate sorrow, as well as her struggle to keep her composure; Christ's suffering is epitomized by the three angels who collect the blood of the Saviour." Strauss also notes the daring introduction of humor—in a way that W. H. Auden might have appreciated in his "Musee des Beaux Arts": "The mount of the equestrian in the foreground seems to have grown impatient with his indifference"!
The Lamentation (B. 13, M. 122b, S. 60). Original woodcut, 1498-99. Executed in the late fifteenth century for the Large Passion, our impression is a very good dark and evenly-printed impression from the 1511 edition with the Latin text on the verso printed on paper with a High tower with crown watermark (Meder 259). Repaired tear upper-center going from the space between the tree and the top group of birds up to the top border line. The long vertical crack on the left seen in later impressions (see below) has not yet occurred. Image size: 392x283mm. Price: $20,000.
The Lamentation (B. 13, M. 122b, S. 60). Original woodcut, 1498-99. Executed in the late fifteenth century for the Large Passion, our impression is a post-1511 Latin edition Meder b, before the left border sprouted many breaks. Just back from restoration, our impression is mounted on an archival suport sheet to strenthen the folds. Repaired tears at margins. The long vertical crack on the left dates from 1511. Image size: 392x283mm. Price: $7500.
The Lamentation (B. 13, M. 122c, S. 60). Original woodcut, 1498-99. Executed in the late fifteenth century for the Large Passion, our impression is a post-1511 Latin edition Meder b-c before the Augsburg edition of 1675. There are two cracks that Meder notes even before the 1511 Latin edition that are now worse: the first crack extends from the squating woman on the left to the cross and is visible also on the top; a second crack extends left of the monogram to Christ's knees. Overall, Meder describes the later editions as "gray, uneven. Ours shows the gap in the top margin at center and the gap in the contours of the mountains top center that appears in state b but not the three gaps present in state c. The shading in the gound lower right is not printing well. At some point, the long vertical crack was retouched in black ink (as Meder notes often occured) Just back from restoration, our impression is mounted on an archival support sheet to strenthen the long fold between the squatting woman at left and the standing woman praying at center. The center group of figures prints clearly and strongly. Repaired tears at margins. Image size: 395x282mm. Price: $6500.
The Deposition (B. 12 [sic], M. 123, S. 39). Original woodcut, c. 1496-97. Executed in the late fifteenth century for the Large Passion, our impression is a very good evenly-printed proof impression before the 1511 Latin text edition. Strauss notes that the "many magnificent details, and the somewhat jumbled composition . . .  compound the difficulty in discerning that the three men [in the center of the woodcut] are about to place Christ's body in the tomb." Strauss also notes that "the rich man with a purse, holding Christ's legs bears a resemblance to [Dürer's close friend Willibald] Pirckheimer, whereas the old man in the center background has been thought to resemble Durer's father-in-law, Hans Frey. . . . The Virgin, in a dominant position, appears paralyzed wwith grief as she stares straight ahead sadly, not following the action of the scene." In contrast, St. John, supporting the Virgin from behind stares at the men putting Jesus in the tomb while the expression on Christ's face, as Strauss points out, is "almost serene." On our impression, there is damage in the lower right corner and the curved lines on the drapery covering the Virgin's back and on and below her left hand have been expertly supplied in pen on a separate sheet of archival paper that provides support for the whole woodcut and supplies the missing parts of the Virgin's body extending through St. John's hand on the Virgin's back. There are also several wormholes mainly in blank spaces and not noticeable unless the unmatted sheet is viewed from the rear. Image size: 380x279mm. Price: $15,000.
The Harrowing of Hell (B. 14, S. 150, M., H. 121). Original woodcut, signed in the block and dated 1510 on the ledge to the right of Jesus' head as he reaches down to pull John the Baptist out of the dungeons of Hell. According to Meder, some proofs before the 151l edition with Latin text verso and impressions from the 1511 edition have a small gap in the pole from which the banner of the resurrection flies; impressions after the 1511 edition show a 40mm (nearly two inch) gap. Since ours has a 2 mm gap and lacks the Latin text, it seems to be a proof before 1511: a very good dark impression with strong contrasts. There is a very elaborate watermark which I cannot identify. There is a horizontal fold visible from Eve's back on the left to Jesus's shoulder and another running from the ledge with the date. Image size: 395x279mm. Price: $30,000.
The Harrowing of Hell (B. 14, S. 150, M., H. 121). Original woodcut, signed in the block and dated 1510 on the ledge to the right of Jesus' head as he reaches down to pull John the Baptist out of the dungeons of Hell. According to Meder, some proofs before the 151l edition with Latin text verso and impressions from the 1511 edition have a small gap in the pole from which the banner of the resurrection flies; impressions after the 1511 edition show a 40mm (nearly two inch) gap. Since ours has a 2 mm gap and lacks the Latin text, it seems to be a proof before 1511 from state b, when the crack from the bottom to the hem of Jesus' robe begins to show: a very good strong impression printed best between Eve's face and the face of John the Baptist, with Jesus particularly well printed; the flying devil top right is also quite well printed. The left side of Eve's body is over-inked and particularly poorly printed. No watermark. Image size: 398x279mm. Price: SOLD.
The Resurrection (B. 15, S. 151, M. 124). Original woodcut, 1510. From the 1511 Latin edition of the Large Woodcut Passion, the first edition of the complete Large Woodcut Passion. Dated 1510 and signed in the block. Trimmed to the border. Panofsky says, "We have the impression that a magic carpet is lowered so as to invade our field of vision and to transfuse rather than overthrow the natural world." Image size: 390x270mm. Price: SOLD.
The Resurrection (B. 15, S. 151, M. 124). Original woodcut, 1510. A fair Meder b impression after the 1511 Latin text edition trimmed on or just outside the margins. Panofsky says, "We have the impression that a magic carpet is lowered so as to invade our field of vision and to transfuse rather than overthrow the natural world." In the 15th century, Jesus is normally shown standing rather firmly on the lid of the stone; here, as Panofsky notes, he is shown in an indeterminate space neither solidly on the earth nor yet completely transcendant (as in Durer's Transfiguration, where he floats above the earth). One of the most important visionary prints of the Renaissance!

Condition: long vertical crease going through Christ's left elbow; horizontal creases through Christ's knees; wormhole in Christ's abdomen; small stain in second from bottom right gurd's armpit; small stain in quiver of lower left guard; backed with thin laid paper. Image size: 390x279mm. Price: $14,500.
The Holy Trinity (Bartsch 122, Strauss 164, Meder 187) Original woodcut, 1511. A very good, dark, and evenly-printed Meder a-b impression showing little or no signs of wear and with strong contrasts overall. The thin lines surrounding the heaads of the Father and the Son are clear, sharp, and black against the pure white of the Father's back-lit crowned head and surrounding the Dove of the Spirit above. Trimmed on the black border line, with parts of the border line preserved. Backed with thin laid paper. Wölfflin calls this “the most beautiful and grandiose woodcut of the epoch . . . unrivalled in its powers of invention.” Although this is not part of the Large Passion, it is the same size as the blocks in the series and was completed the year that Durer published the complete Passion cycle. I suspect it was not included in the Passion series only because it is not a scriptural image. Image size: 396x287mm. Price: $35,000.

Like the other non-rectangular seeming photographs, this is actually quite rectangular. The problem is with the photographer (me) rather than the woodcut
The Holy Trinity (B. 122, Strauss 164) Original woodcut, 1511. Our impression is a Meder i on laid paper with a VB lion coat of arms. 2 thinned spots lower area verso. Wölfflin calls this “the most beautiful and grandiose woodcut of the epoch . . . unrivalled in its powers of invention.” Image size: 396x287mm. Price: SOLD.

Spaightwood Galleries, Inc.

To purchase, call us at 1-800-809-3343 (508-529-2511 in Upton MA & vicinity) or send an email to spaightwood@gmail.com.
We accept AmericanExpress, DiscoverCard, MasterCard, and Visa.
We also accept wire transfers and paypal.

For directions and visiting information, please call. We are, of course, always available over the web and by telephone (see above for contact information). Click the following for links to past shows and artists. For a visual tour of the gallery, please click here. For information about Andy Weiner and Sonja Hansard-Weiner, please click here. For a list of special offers currently available, see Specials.

All works are sold with an unconditional guarantee of authenticity (as described in our website listing).

Copyright 2004-2017, Spaightwood Galleries, Inc.

Go back to the top of this page.

Visiting hours: Saturday and Sunday noon to 6 pm and other times by arrangement.
Please call to confirm your visit. Browsers and guests are welcome.