The J. Paul Getty Museum

Christ Carrying the Cross

Object Details

Title:

Christ Carrying the Cross

Artist/Maker:

Albrecht Altdorfer (German, about 1480 - 1538)

Culture:

German

Date:

about 1513

Medium:

Pen and black ink and gray wash over black chalk

Object Number:

86.GG.465

Dimensions:

30.3 cm (11 15/16 in.)

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Object Description

A crowd of townsfolk gathers to watch Christ carry the cross to the hill of Golgotha, where he was crucified. Christ falls beneath the weight of the cross in the center of the scene, while a Roman soldier goads him on with the end of his pike and an elderly, bearded Simon tries to assist him.

Albrecht Altdorfer conveyed the scene's drama by packing a monumental, relief-like concentration of figures into a tight space. The crowd presses forward onto the four central figures, wrapping around them and creating a claustrophobic effect. The bold vertical lines of the cross and the soldier's pike lead the viewer's eyes diagonally down to the main image of the kneeling Christ. Altdorfer displayed exceptionally varied line work, particularly in the figure of Christ. There he used strokes of gray wash to emphasize and soften the black ink outline, while in other areas he created shadows with the wash.

Probably part of a series representing the Passion, this is Altdorfer's only surviving design for a stained-glass window.

Provenance
Provenance
-

Gosta Stenman (Stockholm)

December 12, 1985
-

Art Market [Boston]

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Albrecht Altdorfer: Zeichnungen, Deckfarbenmalerei, Druckgraphik (February to June 1988) (cat. by Hans Mielke)
  • Museen der Stadt Regensburg, February to June 1988
  • Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin), February to June 1988
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (May 24 to August 8, 1993)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), May 24 to August 8, 1993
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994
16th Century Ornamental Drawings (June 1 to August 14, 1994)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), June 1 to August 14, 1994
Figural Compositional Drawings from the 16th to the 19th Century (August 31 to December 8, 1996)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), August 31 to December 8, 1996
Painting on Light: Drawings and Stained Glass in the Age of Durer and Holbein (July 11, 2000 to January 7, 2001)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 11 to September 24, 2000
  • Saint Louis Art Museum (Saint Louis), November 4, 2000 to January 7, 2001
Made for Manufacture: Drawings for Sculpture and the Decorative Arts (February 6 to May 20, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 6 to May 20, 2007
Made for Manufacture: Drawings for Sculpture and the Decorative Arts (March 31 to July 5, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 31 to July 5, 2009
Renaissance Drawings from Germany and Switzerland, 1470-1600 (March 27 to June 17, 2012)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 27 to June 17, 2012