St Judas Thaddaeus, from the series: Christ, Paul and the Twelve Apostles, result 1 of 1
Born in the city of Leiden, Lucas van Leyden was the first Dutch engraver to achieve wide acclaim in his lifetime. He made about 200 prints, mostly engravings, but also woodcuts and a few etchings. He met Albrecht Dürer in 1521 during the German artist's year-long visit to the Netherland, and Dürer drew van Leyden's portraits and bought a set of his prints. It is likely that Lucas simultanously acquired some of Dürer's prints, as his influence is evident in Lucas's work in the early 1520s.
This print, the eighth in the series, dates from much earlier. Lucas was a child prodigy artist, and this impressive series, made when he was just 16, shows no signs of immaturity. In 1845, the pioneering Anglo-Irish art historian and iconographer Anna Jameson described it as 'magnificent in point of feeling'. Each figure is depicted isolated against a plain background and with his attributes. The subject of this engraving, Judas Thaddeus, also known as Jude the Aposle, must not be confused with the treacherous Judas Iscariot. Little is known of his life. His traditional attribute is a club, seen in this engraving, and which alludes to accounts of his martyrdom. He was supposedly clubbed or hacked to death, which explains why the halberd is also frequently depicted in representations of him.
David Maskill, 'Lucas van Leyden 1494-1533 Netherlands', in William McAloon (ed.), Art at Te Papa (Wellington, 2009), p. 26.
Dr Mark Stocker Curator, Historical International Art January 2017
Now viewing St Judas Thaddaeus, from the series: Christ, Paul and the Twelve Apostles