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woodcuts-lnks – 2/2/04


A set of web links to information on period woodcuts by Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon.


NOTE: See also the files: woodcuts-msg, paper-msg, bookbinding-msg, wood-msg, merch-woods-msg, tools-msg, woodworking-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



From: Lis <liontamr at ptd.net>

Date: Wed Jan 14, 2004 1:17:44 PM US/Central

To: Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>,

Subject: Links: Woodcuts


Greetings everyone! This week's Links list is about Woodcuts--from initial

idea to printing your illustration. Please make use of the following 15

links to discover the Medieval world of printable art. Included are samples

of Medieval Woodcuts (many thanks to Master Huen for his invaluable Gode

Cokery website AGAIN). Also, Special Thanks to Master Remus Fletcher for

suggesting this week's topic.


As always, please forward this list on to those who will find it

interesting, and use it to update your own web pages.


Stay warm on this blustery and cold January day!






Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon




Gode Cokery: Medieval Woodcuts Clipart Collection


A collection of Medeival artwork and woodcuts, espescially about food but

also many other topics, that about.com calls "fairly robust." Nice work,

Huen :)


Retrokat.com Medieval Clipart


Note that this site prohibits live-links to it's artwork.


Medieval Woodcut Illustrations: City Views and Decorations from the

Nuremberg Chronicle (A book for sale)


(Site Excerpt) Comparable to the Gutenberg Bible in its magnificent

craftsmanship, The Nuremberg Chronicle, a 1493 history of the world,

contains some of the most beautiful woodcuts ever designed. This splendid

selection depicts 91 locales-Athens, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Jerusalem, Venice,

Prague, Munich, Nuremberg, Florence, and many others, plus 143 illustrations

of figures and decorative objects. Designed by a team of artists headed by

Pleydenwurff and Wolgemut that included apprentice Albrecht Dčrer. 194

permission-free b/w illustrations.


Woodcuts (history)


(Site Excerpt) Because of the difficult nature of cutting the wood itself,

Renaissance artists' designs were often less intricate than they might have

been. This is why once etching and engraving became more common practices,

woodcutting was abandoned in favor of the media which could render more

delicate line. The correlation between artist and carver became so strong

that artists would have to take into account the skill and expectations of

his carver while creating the design.2 However, wood engraving remained in

the 16th century to be the primary form of book publication, preventing a

total move from woodcuts to engravings. Artists continued to utilize the

durability of woodblocks in creating decorative designs intended to rival

the decorative styles of manuscript illumination.


Jean's Printmaking Home Page


(Site Excerpt--note that this site has a flash movie showing the delicate

carving motion on a woodcut) How to make a woodcut:Getting Started    You

will need:1/2 inch thick piece of wood, about 8 in. by 10 in. preferably

pine or birch plywood. You can use linoleum, if you wish, but it is best to

buy the stuff specially made for art work, called battleship

linoleum.Woodcutting tools or linoleum cutting tools.... Safety Rule!...A

woodcutting knife is a tool, not a weapon. Use your woodcutting knives with

care and keep them sharp by sharpening them on a stone which you can buy in

any hardware store. Watch the position of the woodcutting knife relative to

how you are holding your hands. You don't want to cut towards your other

hand. That is why this woodcut lesson is not suggested for children under

the sixth grade.....


Relief Printing Techniques


(Site Excerpt) Because you have to remove a lot of material from your block,

these techniques can only be used with "soft" materials like wood or

linoleum, sometimes gerflex or PVC, rarely stone. So Woodcut, Linocut and

Wood engraving are the 3 main kinds of relief printing techniques. In each

one, you draw your subject on the surface of a block and cut away every bit

of material that is not the picture, using special instrument called gouges

or knifes.


Woodcuts, Wood Engravings


(Site Excerpt--please note that due to the subject matter on the woodcuts

shown at the end of the page, it is not suitable for children) Technically,

the woodcut requires not only a knowledge of drawing but skill in a distinct

kind of craftsmanship. Much more than "hacking" at the wood is necessary.

Clarity in design and expression in both line and area are most important.

The woodcut is done on soft wood, the long-grain plank of apple, pear,

beech, cherry - and also linoleum. All woods used are type high, planed flat

and sandpapered very smooth. The design is either drawn directly or traced

upon the block, and the method, roughly is is to cut away all white or light

areas, leaving the black lines and areas raised, as that, when inked, they

will print on paper under pressure. A knife or carver is used for incising

the line and chisels or similar tools are used to clean out superfluous



Wood-Block Printing

F. Morley Fletcher



(Site Excerpt)

This little book gives an account of one of the primitive crafts, in the

practice of which only the simplest tools and materials are used. Their

method of use may serve as a means of expression for artist-craftsmen, or

may be studied in preparation for, or as a guide towards, more elaborate

work in printing, of which the main principles may be seen most clearly in

their application in the primitive craft.


Printing Woodcuts on an Etching Press



Deutsches-Museum Printing


(Site Excerpt) Between about 1440 and 1450, Johannes Gensfleisch Gutenberg

invented letterpress printing, a method of duplicating large numbers of

identical prints at low cost. This was the technical prerequisite which made

books accessible to a larger audience, accounted for the rise of newspapers

and periodicals, and generally brought about a much wider dissemination of

the written word than ever before. Hardly any other invention has exercised

such a great influence on civilization and society. The Department of

Printing is divided up into three areas: Handicrafts, industry and the

Modern Age.



by Merry Wiesner-Hanks

Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


(Site Excerpt) The amounts printed were absolutely fantastic compared with

medieval production. Scholars estimate--and this is a very hard thing to

agree on -- that there were somewhere between 8 million and 20 million

incunables, or books printed before 1500. This, of course, vastly exceeds

the number of books produced in all of western history up to that point.


Works on Paper - Woodcut


(Site Excerpt) The block for a woodcut can be cut from the log either

lengthwise, along the grain, or crosswise, across the grain, each method

producing a slightly different look in the final print. Virtually any kind

of wood that can be cut is suitable. In his bird's eye view of Venice,

printed in 1500, Jacopo da Barbari used six walnut blocks. Albrecht Dčrer

used pearwood, and Gauguin used boxwood. Early woodcut artists preferred a

close grain which made it possible to cut very fines lines. In the past

hundred years, artists have often used wood with a coarser grain,

incorporating its natural pattern into their prints. Some modern artists use

plywood. In this century, linoleum has been a frequent alternative to wood.

The blocks are cut with straight knives or scooped ones called gouges. In

recent years some artists have begun to use power tools.


About.com's William Caxton c. 1421-1491


(Site Excerpt) From textiles to printing, this English printer produced the

first printed book in English to make extensive use of woodcuts. Learn more

from these profiles and biographies.


RTF from Florilegium.org on Woodcuts

http://www.florilegium.org/files/SCRIBAL-ARTS/woodcuts-msg.rtf See also

http://www.florilegium.org/ crafts for the woodworking tools and techniques



Print-making TIME-TABLE


(Site Excerpt) 868PAPER The first book printed on paper in China, in block

printed Buddhist scripts.

896COLOPHON Colophon, oldest known manuscript colophon, in Books of the

Prophets written by Moses ben Asher in Tiberias.

896MOSES BEN ASHER Colophon, oldest known manuscript colophon, in Books of

the Prophets written by Moses ben Asher in Tiberias.

950WINCHESTERWinchester School, 950-1100, characteristic style of manuscript


954ABINGDON Abingdon Monastery founded by Aethelwold, monks famous for

manuscript illumination, Winchester School

1041MOVABLE TYPE In 1403 the earliest known book was printed from movable

type in Korea, a process which had been used by the Chinese as early as

1041. In 1450 Gutenberg printed his 42-line Bible in Mainz on a quality of

handmade paper which remains unsurpassed to this day. 26 Years later William

Caxton brought the art of printing to England, and in 1486 the first English

coloured illustrated book was printed in St. Albans.


Artlex on Woodcuts


(Site Excerpt--numerous photos of examples)  France, Troyes, Dance of Death,

16th century, incunabulum, illustrated with hand-colored woodcuts, Saxon

State Library, Dresden, Germany. Based on a fourteenth-century morality poem

by an unidentifiable author, the Dance of Death evolved into a set of

illustrated verses depicting a dialogue between Death and people of all

social ranks. The theme was very popular in 15th and 16th century Christian

Europe, reminding the living that rank and station in life were meaningless

in the face of death. The illustrations show representations of

ecclesiastical and secular society being carried off by Death. The pages

displayed here show the Pope, the Emperor, a cardinal, and a king. See



RTF from Florilegium.org on Woodcuts

http://www.florilegium.org/files/SCRIBAL-ARTS/woodcuts-msg.rtf See also

http://www.florilegium.org/ crafts for the woodworking tools and techniques



<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org