Albrecht Dürer’s Large Passion: Art, History, and Theology

James Walter Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


This essay analyzes a series of woodcuts collectively entitled the Large Passion (of Christ), which the German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer created between 1496 and 1511. The Passion illustrates the biblical story of Jesus Christ’s betrayal, trial, and crucifixion. The essay explores various artistic, religious, and philosophical contexts that affected Dürer’s imagery. The artist’s identification as an Augustinian Catholic, his interest in Italian humanism, and the influence of Venetian Renaissance art played crucial roles in the iconography and style of Dürer’s woodcut prints. The devotional known as the Way of the Cross, or Stations of the Cross, also impacted his subject matter. The artist used his Large Passion cycle to educate a wide spectrum of art collectors about Christian doctrine. The essay concludes by briefly examining each Large Passion image, using relevant Bible passages and Christian theology to help explain some of the messages Dürer’s prints conveyed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-488
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social and Political Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019

User-Defined Keywords

  • Albrecht Dürer
  • Christian art
  • Large Passion
  • Nuremberg
  • Woodcut Print


Dive into the research topics of 'Albrecht Dürer’s Large Passion: Art, History, and Theology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this