ALBRECHT DURËR (Nuremberg, 1471-1528) and GEORGE MACK THE ELDER (active c. 1556-1601)
The Crucifixion, 1512, from the Engraved Passion by Albrecht Durër, hand colored c. 1588 by George Mack the Elder (print 116 x 75 mm.; sheet 175 x 128 mm.)
Germany, Nuremberg, 1512 and 1588
This is one of seven known sheets from the Engraved Passion all mounted on parchment with marginal illuminations and with text from a Prayerbook on their versos. Beyond the five from the Josefowitz collection, the present sheet is one of two others, as noted by Susan Dackerman along with one other sheet with Saints Peter and John at the Temple Gate in the collection of the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin. It is likely that sixteen sheets existed at one time, all contained in a bound volume. In the late sixteenth century, over fifty years after the Dürer’s death, there was a renewed interest in the artist and his work – a period subsequently known as the “Dürer Renaissance.” As the supply of paintings and drawings was necessarily limited, demand was partially satisfied by the creation of hand-colored engravings and woodcuts, approximating the appearance of painted miniatures. The Mack family – Hans, Georg the Elder, and Georg the Younger – were among the most active and important Illuministen and Briefmaler in Nuremberg in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The present sheet is composed of an engraving illuminated with transparent washes and body color, heightened with gold and silver, mounted to a sheet of parchment with illuminated floral borders. The engraving is initialed GM in the lower left corner in silver gilding, the vellum border recto decorated with scrolling brown vines with red grapes and green and yellow leaves, a bird, and a lamb at bottom; verso with German text written in a Fraktur script in brown ink and gold, the border decorated with green vines with maroon, purple, and red berries, a bird (Magpie?), and a lion, in very good condition.