Pietà, 1596

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The pieta (Italian for pity), is a devotional subject common in Christian art that portrays a mournful Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus. Such scenes of lamentation occur between the time of Jesus's crucifixion on the cross and his entombment. Less narrative than many other Christian subjects, they are intended to convey the Virgin's immense grief and the great emotional bond she has with her son.

Henrik Goltzius's Pietá constitutes the high point of his own "Dürer Renaissance," whereby the artist adopted both the manner and technique of Dürer's mature engravings. Unlike the Master Engravings series of 1594-95 in which Goltzius modeled his work in the style of past masters, here he actually imitated the work of the German master. In so doing, Goltzius openly flaunted his own virtuoso skill as an engraver.

Artist Life
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
B.41; Holl.50 ii/ii; Dut.41 ii/ii; Str. 331 ii/ii
Curator Approved

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