barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528)

St Christopher

Nuremberg, 1521


Paper: 11.7 x 74 cm; mount: 55.7 x 40.5 cm 


This print represents St Christopher, a third century martyr who served others by carrying them safely across a dangerous river.

Christopher means ‘Christ-bearer’ and here he is shown bowing under the weight of a child who later revealed himself to be Jesus. Dürer’s detailed execution of the saint’s features, the forward position of his head and his tight grip on his staff, convey his determination to accomplish his journey. Once safely across the river, Christopher was baptised by Christ symbolising the spiritual cleansing of his soul.

Purchased 1939 (No. 39.4)

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