In the 16th century woodcut was employed for a wide range of secular purposes, such as dynastic and political propaganda and polemic by various religious groups, as well as for producing religious images. The subject-matter included maps, town views, sieges, battle scenes, hunts, tournaments, portraits, comic and satirical works, popular broadsheets and genre subjects, such as banquets, peasant festivals and bathing scenes. Woodcut was also used to print wallpaper and other decorative Paper. South-eastern Germany continued to be the most prolific area for woodcuts; when they were losing popularity in most other countries in the late 16th century, production there continued. The decline in the prestige of woodcut was accelerated by the use of engravings to spread knowledge of Italian Renaissance compositions. Widespread neglect of existing woodcuts also resulted, so that many are now very rare. This is especially true of the large-format friezes and other compositions for the wall.
At sunrise on the 14th April 1561, the citizens of Nuremberg beheld "A very frightful spectacle." The sky appeared to fill with cylindrical objects from which red, black, orange and blue white disks and globes emerged. Crosses and tubes resembling cannon barrels also appeared whereupon the objects promptly "began to fight one another." This event is depicted in a famous 16th century woodcut by Hans Glaser.
Caption: A 16th century woodcut from Pare's 'Surgery' showing a comet as a bad omen. Comets were regarded at that time as being portents of pestilence. A comet appeared just before the advent of the Great Plague, 1665.
A Group of 16th Century Woodcuts
comprising three chiaroscuro woodcuts by and after Ugo da Carpi, including (B. 17), printed from four blocks in black and three shades of olive, watermark Crowned Eagle, published by Andrea Andreani, 1609, with his address, a very good impression of this rare print; (B. 6), a fine impression; and (B. 27 II); with (Holl. 449) by Hans Burgkmair; (Pass. VI, 89) after Giuseppe Porta and by an unidentified hand, all generally in good condition (6)
(We continue to invite submissions.)