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The Mass of St. GregoryEnlarge image

The Mass of St. Gregory, 1511

Albrecht Dürer
German, 1471 - 1528
woodcut on laid paper
29.7 x 20.6 cm
Purchased 1915
National Gallery of Canada (no. 1083)

The literary source of this print is the twelfth-century "Life of St. Gregory the Great", which relates how Christ appeared to the pope as he was performing Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica after an assistant doubted the presence of Christ in the bread and wine used during Holy Communion (the doctrine of transubstantiation). Seeming to emerge from a crypt, Christ appears as the Man of Sorrows surrounded by instruments of his Passion.

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