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Sunday 10 July 2022

Albrecht Altdorfer’s woodcut, “Descent from the Cross”, c1513

Albrecht Altdorfer (1482/5–1538)

“Descent from the Cross” (aka “La Descente de Croix” [Bartsch]; “Kruisafname” [Rijksmuseum]), c1513 (c1506–1538), thirty-first plate from the series of forty prints, “Fall and Redemption of Man” (aka “De val en verlossing van de mensheid”; “The Fall and Salvation of Mankind Through the Life and Passion of Christ”).

Woodcut on fine laid paper, trimmed around the image borderline.

Size: (sheet) 7.2 x 4.8 cm.

Signed in plate with the artist’s monogram at upper left corner: “AA”.

Lifetime impression based on the quality of line showing very few or no signs of wear to the printing plate.

TIB 14(8).31(74) (Robert A Koch 1980, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Early German Masters”, vol., 14, New York, Abaris Books, p. 137, cat. no. 31 [74]); New Hollstein (German) w.31 (Ursula Mielke [comp.] 1997, “The New Hollstein: German Engravings, Etchings and Woodcuts 1400–1700: Albrecht and Erhard Altdorfer”, Rotterdam, Sound and Vision Interactive, p. 109, cat. no. w.31); Dodgson 31 (Campbell Dodgson 1911, “Catalogue of Early German and Flemish Woodcuts Preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings of the British Museum”, vol. 2, London, British Museum, p. 225, cat. no. 31).

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print: (Transl.) “The body of Christ is taken down from the cross by Nicodemus and Joseph, both on a ladder, helped by John. Mary and Mary Magdalene are sitting on the floor” (

See also the descriptions of this print offered by the British Museum and the MET:;

Regarding the woodcut series, “Fall and Redemption of Man”, featuring this print, Giulia Bartrum (1995) in “German Renaissance Prints” (BM exh. cat.) advises: “By 1513, Altdorfer had already executed a number of small, finely detailed engravings, and he here transfers similarly minute designs to the woodcutter's block. Owing to the fact that the designs had to be cut in relief by a block-cutter, it was much more difficult to achieve the same degree of precision in woodcuts as in engravings; but despite this difficulty, Altdorfer's series is a technical tour de force” (see extract with the BM’s Curator’s comment:

Condition: a richly inked and well-printed impression, trimmed around the image borderline. Beyond remnants of hinges and pencil notations from previous collectors (verso), the sheet is in an excellent condition with no tears, holes, folds, losses, stains or foxing.

I am selling this small woodcut that is a superb lifetime impression (based on the quality of the line showing no signs of wear to the printing plate) by one of the Nuremberg Little Masters (Kleinmeister) for AU$516 in total (currently US$351.97/EUR346.69/GBP293.59 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries.

If you are interested in purchasing this tiny woodcut masterwork from the Renaissance, I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

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