Crucifixion Christ on the Cross, Mary and John - Albrecht Altdorfer. 116.5 x 102 cm
The most dramatic paintings on a religious plot are, of course, those related to the theme of the crucifixion and lamentation of Jesus. An outstanding representative of the Northern Renaissance, the German artist Albrecht Altdorfer, who belongs to the Danube School, also did not pass by this story.
Religious painting of that period (XVI century) was constrained in some way by the corresponding canons, but Altdorfer boldly leaves the narrow framework. An amazingly talented landscape painter, he always portrayed heroes against the backdrop of magnificent nature, but he acted in a completely innovative way - Christ, crucified on the cross, the author places on the seashore, although it is known that this happened on the rock (hill) of Calvary. That is, the master not only departs from the accepted principles of transmitting the Christian plot, but changes the scene. Amazing courage!
Yes, 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 flowing out in thin streams of blood, the painful sensation only intensifies. Or maybe the painter wanted to emphasize what kind of torment Jesus accepted in the name of the salvation of mankind, which now can enjoy this beauty?
Along the edges of the work, the author depicts Mary and John. The author hardly shows the faces of these heroes - John is completely turned away from us, and Mary’s face half covers her handkerchief. Her posture is rather unnatural - a curved figure, arms spread out, as if at a loss. The painter never paid close attention to the figures of people, leaving nature as the main character, but researchers note a thorough depiction of draperies. And here you can see with what filigree the master depicted the texture of the fabric with numerous folds and tints.
The body of the crucified Jesus is depicted not so much anatomically accurately as emotionally strong. A thin figure with arms spread all in blood, which flows with uneven lines to the legs, where a coarse nail is driven. Right under the cross, the author depicted a six-pointed star - this is a Hebrew symbol with many interpretations.
The color palette of Altdorfer is rich and saturated - bright red, glowing white, blue, turquoise, yellow, brown. A bold coloristic combination, coupled with a fine application technique, creates a vivid picture that is distinguished by emotionality and penetration.