Woodblock for Samson Rending the Lion

Albrecht Dürer German

Not on view

Albrecht Dürer's remarkable woodcuts were created by printing blocks such as this one, typically carved from a fruit wood, onto a sheet of paper. Whether Dürer cut his own woodblocks or drew the design on the block and commissioned a highly skilled woodcutter to do the actual carving remains an open question. The unparalleled subtlety with which the image was chiseled into the surface has been used as evidence both for and against Dürer's participation. The intricacies involved in shaping the patterns of curving and tapering lines in order to create pictorial effects never before achieved in woodcut must certainly have required Dürer's close supervision if not his hand on the knife. The block, still in use more than a century after the artist's death, was recut in places to strengthen the image, which had begun to wear away. Several of the artist's woodblocks have survived; this is one of two Dürer blocks in the Metropolitan Museum's collection.

Woodblock for Samson Rending the Lion, Albrecht Dürer (German, Nuremberg 1471–1528 Nuremberg), Pear wood

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.