MARTIN SCHONGAUER Christ Carrying the Cross: the Large Plate.
Engraving, circa 1480. 290x435 mm; 11 1/2x17 1/4 inches. Large letter A or V with a cross watermark. Ex-collection unknown collector, coat-of-arms with a checked pattern, verso (not in Lugt). A very good, dark and well-inked impression of this large, extremely scarce and important early engraving. Trimmed on or just inside the plate mark, the upper 1-inch horizontal strip of the subject, from the blade of the uppermost lance upward, made up with additions in pen and ink.
We have found approximately only 12 other impressions at auction in the past 30 years.
Schongauer almost certainly acquired direct compositional and figural ideas for this engraving from drawings now associated with Jan van Eyck's workshop in particular a pen and ink drawing of Christ Carrying the Cross, late 15th century, now in the Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna (inventory number 3025).
This is Schongauer's largest, most technically complex and most painterly engraving. By pushing the entire procession to the foreground and turning Christ's head to confront the viewer, Schongauer emphasized Christ's suffering and humanized the scene. Bartsch 21; Lehrs 9.