The Road to Calvary
Schongauer, Martin; printmaker; German artist, c.1440/53-1491
circa 1480 circa 1485
This impression has been cut.
black carbon ink; medium
laid paper; support
height, image, 286, mm
width, image, 425, mm
given; 1934; Young, Arthur W.
One of the best-known and most influential prints produced in northern Europe in the Renaissance period, this image was apparently inspired by a lost work by Jan van Eyck. Schongauer's masterpiece probably dates to his mature years, demonstrating his sophisticated use of modelling and line to create a painterly depth and drama in the image. His technical assurance is also evident in successfully executing such a large plate, which was remarkable for its time.
Christ is depicted on his way to be crucified at Golgotha, collapsing under the weight of the cross and being dragged and whipped by his captors. The procession leads the eye towards the place of execution in the background, with an ominous darkening sky and the weeping figures of the Virgin and St John. Standing out from the profuse detail of his tormentors and the grain of the cross is the face of Jesus, at the centre of the print, communicating his suffering in a look that seeks out the viewer.
monogram; image lower centre; printed; M+S
Illustrated Bartsch; 21
Illustrated Bartsch Commentary; .009
Hollstein (German); 9
Lehrs (Schongauer watermarks); 21/9
The Fitzwilliam Museum. 1991. Martin Schongauer: c.1451-1491 Handlist of an exhibition in the Charrington Print Room. Fitzwilliam Museum. 1991..p. 3
Classmark, N1217, #25
Object Number: P.2695-R
(Paintings, Drawings and Prints)
(record id: 99064; input: 2004-06-16; modified: 2016-01-05)