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Copper engraving.

This German Baroque work on the Passion of Christ was engraved and published by Melchior Küssel (1626 – 1683). Küssel, who ran his own publishing house, was well known for the series of etchings in this volume, which combined illustrations of the life of Christ with elements of Baroque architecture.


This intensely theatrical scene places Christ at the center of a frenzy of soldiers, their bodies fall and limbs flail as if they were toppled by a force. At the top right a crowd of angels blow trumpets and hold javelins, as if ready to battle the soldiers. Christ levitates above the chaos below, bathed in a white light from above. His face is peaceful and he holds his left arm wide, his palm open. At the top left a group of smiling spectators hold palms and stand around the image of the Cross. Palms are frequently used as a symbol of Christ’s victory over death.


Artwork in the public domain.