Christ Bearing the Cross,
From The Passion


Christ Bearing the Cross,
From The Passion


Sebald Beham
German, 1500–1550




Although most biographies of Sebald Beham propose that he apprenticed with Albrecht Dürer, ostensibly between circa 1515 and 1520, no documentary evidence survives to confirm the association. The earliest mention of Beham in reliable accounts list him as a journeyman in 1521, and then place him in Nuremberg, running his own workshop, in 1525. At the time, he was probably best known for his designs for stain glass windows. Today he is mostly celebrated for his printmaking efforts, which include about 250 engravings, a handful of etchings, and some 1,500 woodcuts.

The production of Beham’s Passion unfolded, rather unusually, over many years. Christ Bearing the Cross was one of just three blocks cut in 1521. (That date accompanied the artist’s monogram, located in the upper right, in the print’s first state. For some reason it was removed before the sheet on view, representing the second state, was printed.) Another three were carved the following year; however, the final two woodcuts in the series were completed only in 1535.


Palmer Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University




This image is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. Other uses are not permitted.


Woodcut, second state of two; image: 4-7/8 x 3-3/8 in. (12.4 x 8.5 cm), sheet: 5 x 3-7/16 in. (12.6 x 8.7 cm)