December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas!

        This relief print of the birth of Jesus comes from one of the earliest books to combine woodcut illustrations with moveable type, the Biblia pauperum of 1462-3.  It is hand colored, and it amuses me that Mary’s halo is green.  Yellow wouldn’t have shown up, but I’d have thought they could leave it unpainted and it would look bright against the stable.
        The Christmas greeting from Gustave Baumann is very different: secular rather than religious, freestanding rather than part of a book, colored with separate blocks rather than painted…  However, it too has an interesting twist to its printing.  It is cut from linoleum blocks “transferred
and printed from stone,” which I interpret as a sort of offset lithography.  I don’t know why this seemingly needlessly complicated method was used, but at least it retains the look of the linoleum cuts.  I always love the look of lighted windows at dusk.
        For those who celebrate Christmas, may it be full of joy!

[Pictures: Nativity, hand-colored woodcut from Biblia pauperum published by Albrecht Pfister, c 1462-1463 (Image from Bavarian State Library);
Fröhliche Weihnachten, color linocut transferred to and printed from stone, 1905 (Image from Art Institute Chicago).]

1 comment:

Kristin said...

I like lighted windows at dusk too. And I love this print.