Artwork Details

Albrecht Dürer


The Engraved Passion
Engravings on laid paper
4 3/4 x 3 1/8 inches each
Not on view
Accession Number
2007.16a – p
Jansma Collection, Grand Rapids Art Museum

About the Artwork

In 1507, Dürer began The Engraved Passion, a set of sixteen intaglio plates that he completed in 1513.

The Engraved Passion is Dürer’s earliest work in the medium of engraving, and later influenced Rembrandt’s prints. The engravings for The Engraved Passion are somber and restrained in their presentation. Thefineness of the engraved lines enabled Dürer to achieve remarkable detail and to suggest in these scenes an almost spiritual light. The same delicacy also made possible a greater exploration of facial expression, thereby expanding psychological dimensions. Despite their miniature size, the prominence of the figures, which occupy the majority of the pictorial space, gives the images a compelling forthrightness and grandeur.

A contemporary bound copy of The Engraved Passion, held at Princeton University Museum, provides an example as to how educated people of Dürer’s time viewed the series as an aid to prayer. It is bound in a leather binding with the engravings printed on sheets with wide margins. On the facing page of each image is a handwritten prayer in Latin.