Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), considered the master of the German Renaissance artists, was already well known throughout Europe during his lifetime. Today Dürer is recognized for his timeless paintings and sketches. However, he is best known for his mastery of the painstaking art of printed woodcuts and etchings. Among Dürer’s most stunning woodcut series are the Life of Mary and the Passion.
Concordia Historical Institute (CHI) is showing for the first time its spectacular collection of 43 Dürer woodcuts to the public with the theme A Sword Will Pierce Your Own Soul Too: The Life of Mary and the Passion of Christ in the Woodcuts of Albrecht Dürer.
As the infant Jesus was presented at the Temple, the aged Simeon said to Mary, “A sword will pierce your own soul too” —prophesying the coming rejection and suffering her son would experience over thirty years later in his passion.
Fifteen hundred years later Albrecht Dürer gave these words their most enduring graphic expression. Now after another five hundred years, his woodcuts still have the power to draw the viewer into the lives of Mary and Jesus.
The exhibition has been made possible by a very generous grant from Robert and Katharine (nee Haffenreffer) Selle in memory of Katharine’s father, Theodore C. Haffenreffer, whose ancestor Matthias Haffenreffer was a contemporary and acquaintance of Albrecht Dürer and Martin Luther.