“Crucifixion. Christ on the cross, Mary and John, ”Albrecht Altdorfer – overview of the painting

“Crucifixion. Christ on the cross, Mary and John, ”Albrecht Altdorfer – overview of the painting
"Crucifixion. Christ on the cross, Mary and John, ”Albrecht Altdorfer - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Albrecht Altdorfer
  • Museum: Private collection
  • Year: 1515-1516

Overview of the painting :

Crucifixion Christ on the Cross, Mary and John – Albrecht Altdorfer. 1515-1516. Panel, oil. 116.5 x 102 cm

   The most dramatic pictures on the religious plot are, of course, those related to the theme of the crucifixion and mourning of Jesus. An outstanding representative of the Northern Renaissance, German artist Albrecht Altdorfer, who belongs to the Danube school, also did not pass by this plot.

   Religious painting of that period (XVI century) was constrained in some way by the corresponding canons, but Altdorfer boldly leaves the close frame. Surprisingly talented landscape painter, he always portrayed heroes against the backdrop of luxurious nature, but he acted quite innovatively – Christ, crucified on the cross, the author places on the seashore, although it is known that this happened on the rock (holme) of Golgof. That is, the master not only departs from the accepted principles of the transfer of the Christian plot, but changes the place of action. Amazing courage!

   And look at nature itself – its serene beauty does not speak of tragic events: a delightful blue sky, azure sea water, picturesque trees, a city arch in the distance. But from this contrast: a delightfully beautiful serene background and the Son of God, expiring in thin streams of blood, the painful sensation only intensifies. Or maybe this painter wanted to emphasize what kind of flour Jesus took in the name of saving humanity, which can now enjoy this beauty?

   At the edges of the work, the author depicts Mary and John. The author almost does not show the faces of these heroes – John is completely turned away from us, and the face of Maria covers the scarf halfway. Her pose is rather unnatural – a curved figure, divorced, as if in bewilderment, hands. The painter never paid close attention to the figures of people, leaving nature as the protagonist, but the researchers note a thorough image of draperies. And here you can notice with what filigree the master depicted the texture of the fabric with numerous folds and overflows.

   The body of the crucified Jesus is not so much anatomically accurate as emotionally strong. A thin figure with arms spread out is covered in blood, which flows in uneven lines to the legs, where a gross nail is driven. Right under the cross, the author depicted a six-pointed star – this is an ancient Jewish symbol with many interpretations.

   The color palette of the Altdorfer is rich and saturated – bright red, luminous white, blue, turquoise, yellow, brown. A bold coloristic combination, coupled with small application technology, creates a vivid picture that is emotional and soulful.