Gods, Saints, and Martyrs: Northern Renaissance Prints

Philbrook
Oct 26, 2018 - Apr 07, 2019

For centuries, sacred figures have provided artists in virtually all cultures with subject matter. For Christians, stories from the Bible, particularly those about Christ’s life, have inspired works of art in all media. This exhibition features prints from Northern Europe made over the course of the sixteenth century, highlighting the work of Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), one of the most prominent and successful artists of his time. Dürer produced at least five series of prints and drawings detailing Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection, a sequence known as the Passion.

One of these sets, “Engraved Passion,” was made between 1507 and 1513. These prints were among Philbrook’s first significant acquisitions of European works on paper. Many of Dürer’s contemporaries in Northern Europe similarly depicted scenes from the Passion and from the Bible more broadly. The Protestant Reformation, which originated in Germany early in the century, divided the population and prompted an increase in secular images, but artists continued to produce sacred images that supported a range of interpretations of Christian faith. These works demonstrate the significance of spirituality in everyday life and represent some of the best examples of Northern Renaissance art in the Philbrook collection.