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Gallery Text

These prints from Dürer’s Engraved Passion series were hand colored in 1588 by the Nuremburg colorist Georg Mack the Elder, who added his initials in gold. Today, seven sheets from the series with matching illuminated mounts and manuscript texts on their versos are known, which suggests that all sixteen prints from the series were painted and bound together as a personal prayer book. Mack applied pigments and gold and silver highlights that correspond to Dürer’s printed lines. Together the prints and their decorated mounts evoke the look and feel of an illuminated manuscript. These innovative, hybrid objects thus function as a bridge between earlier handwork traditions of the Middle Ages and the letterpress books that revolutionized the dissemination of texts in Renaissance Europe.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Albrecht Dürer, German (Nuremberg 1471 - 1528 Nuremberg)
Georg Mack the Elder, German (active in Nuremberg c. 1556-1601)
Christ Carrying the Cross
Other Titles
Series/Book Title: The Engraved Passion
Work Type
1512/hand-colored circa 1588
Persistent Link
Level 3, Room 3610, University Teaching Gallery
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Physical Descriptions
Engraving, hand-colored with watercolor, opaque watercolor, and gold and silver on cream antique laid paper, adhered to a decorated vellum mount; verso of mount: decorated border, with German manuscript text in brown ink and gold
print: 11.9 x 7.4 cm (4 11/16 x 2 15/16 in.)
parchment sheet: 17.5 x 12.9 cm (6 7/8 x 5 1/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: upper right corner: signed and dated on plate with artist's initials, 1512/AD
    initialed in gilt below Dürer's mark, GM
[Helmut H. Rumbler Kunsthandlung, Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, by 1989] to; Samuel Josefowitz Collection, London, 1989, sold; [Christie's, New York, "Albrecht Dürer Masterpieces from a Private Collection," 29 January 2013, lot 39] to; [C.G. Boerner LLC, New York] to; Harvard Art Museums, Fogg Museum, 2013.
State, Edition, Standard Reference Number
Standard Reference Number
Bartsch, Meder, Hollstein 12; Schoch-Mende-Scherbaum 54
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Acquisition Fund for Prints
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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The engraving was hand-colored by Georg Mack the Elder circa 1588 (initialed "GM" in gold). The recto border of the vellum mount is decorated with a scroll of tiger lilies and blue flowers and a bird above and a grasshopper below. The verso has a German manuscript text in brown ink and gold relating to the Suffering of Christ, and the border is decorated with a scroll of red and pink carnations, a different flower above, a pheasant, an ant, a snail and a quail.
Publication History

Katalog 25. Catalogue of dealer Helmut H. Rumbler, Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, auct. cat. (Frankfurt-am-Main, 1989), no. 11

Susan Dackerman, Painted Prints: The Revelation of Color in Northern Renaissance and Baroque Engravings, Etchings and Woodcuts, exh. cat., Baltimore Museum of Art (Baltimore, MD, 2002), p. 224, footnote 1, under no. 46

Exhibition History

32Q: 2440 Medieval, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 03/18/2015

32Q: 3620 University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 04/09/2018 - 04/23/2018

A Colloquium in the Visual Arts , Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/04/2021 - 01/02/2022

Related Works

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