Monday, January 16, 2017

Collecting guide: Old Master prints of religious art

By Tim Schmelcher, International specialist
Anonymous, 15th Century (German School), The Pietà. Woodcut with extensive hand-colouring, circa 1450. Sheet 403 x 275 mm. Sold for £223,000 on 3 July 2001 at Christie’s London
Most early prints appear to have been images intended for private devotion, such as the Man of Sorrows, the Virgin or a saint, depicted in relatively simple outlines and meant to be hand-coloured. A good although slightly later example is The Pietà from mid 15th-century Germany (above), which was sold at Christie’s in 2001. It is still a matter of research and academic debate as to where the very first woodcuts in Europe were made, whether in Italy or north of the Alps. The term refers to any printed image, irrespective of the actual printing technique employed, which has been created during a period of over 600 years, from the beginning of printmaking in Europe to the end of the 18th century or early 19th century. [link]