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The Road to Calvary

Drawing of Jesus Christ carrying cross, soldier jabbing with staff, crowd following.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Drawing of Jesus Christ carrying cross, soldier jabbing with staff, crowd following.




Master of the Housebook
German, active c. 1470-1500

About this artwork

This dramatic depiction of Christ’s suffering on his way to the Crucifixion is one of the first examples of drypoint by the anonymous master who invented this method of engraving. In drypoint the image is drawn directly on a metal plate with a sharp instrument, a process that preserves the artist’s personal “handwriting” and imparts to the print a characteristically velvety line. Here the printmaker skillfully exploited the soft, atmospheric effects, silvery shadows, and sense of delicate, luminous distances that are attainable in drypoint. The forest of lances that juts up behind the hills in the background also creates the illusion of depth. The central motif is Christ’s ordeal at the hands of three soldiers who force him and Simon of Cyrene, an innocent bystander, onward to the Mount of Calvary. On the left, the grieving figure of Mary, supported by the apostle John, is strikingly juxtaposed with the utterly indifferent soldier on the right, who has turned his back on the whole scene. This impression of The Road to Calvary is one of only three versions of this print. The Rijksprenten kabinet in Amsterdam owns eighty of the approximately ninety surviving prints by his hand.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Master of the Housebook


The Road to Calvary


Germany (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Drypoint in black on ivory laid paper


Image: 12.9 × 19.3 cm (5 1/8 × 7 5/8 in.); Sheet, trimmed within platemark: 13 × 19.4 cm (5 1/8 × 7 11/16 in.)

Credit Line

Clarence Buckingham Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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